Daggers drawn, Govt-Opposition fight over Rafale deal takes new turn


Citing an audio clip, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is “blackmailing” Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the clip, the former Union defence minister is heard claiming that he has the entire Rafale deal file “in his bedroom.”

The audio clip in which a Goa cabinet minister is purportedly quoting Parrikar as claiming that he has the Rafale deal file, Gandhi said there might be many such “tapes”.

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The Congress along with opposition parties, including ally Shiv Sena, are demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the Rs 58,000 crore deal.

Gandhi alleged “What Parrikar is doing is threatening the Prime Minister and blackmailing him in a way. We have been raising this for a long time. Question is what information is there in Parrikar’s bedroom and what files are there and what could be the impact on Narendra Modi”.

Meanwhile, the opposition and the government engaged in a bitter war of words on the Rafale issue in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Rahul Gandhi allegedly said Prime Minister Narendra Modi “does not have guts” to face questions in Parliament while on the other hand Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress Chief of peddling “lies” and “falsehood”.

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Narendra Modi government faced an embarrassment when its ally Shiv Sena came in support of the Opposition’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) into the Rafale deal.

Following Gandhi’s direct attack on the government, Jaitley defended the government in a scathing counter- attack saying “conspirators” of past defence scams had the “audacity” to target the Modi dispensation.

The discussions ended abruptly midway after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan suspended 24 AIADMK members for five days due to the “grave disorder” they caused with their protests in the Well of the House.