New Delhi | The BJP today submitted a privilege notice against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for “misleading” Parliament, hours after the Opposition leader accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of lying to the nation on the Rafale deal.
Talking to reporters outside Parliament, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said Rahul’s behaviour in the House was “childish”. “It’s unfortunate that he has not grown up. It’s unfortunate that the president of the Congress is so ill-informed and immature,” he said.
According to the rules of the House, Gandhi should have given prior notice before making any allegations against any member. He should have given substantiating material to the Speaker, the minister added. “BJP MPs will move a privilege motion against Rahul Gandhi for falsehood and misleading Parliament,” he added. Later, BJP MP Prahlad Joshi submitted a notice for privilege against Gandhi in the Lok Sabha.
Earlier in the day, while speaking in the House on the no-confidence motion against the government, Rahul had alleged that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman lied to the nation on the Rafale deal and that she did so under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also said Sitharaman had herself said earlier that she would disclose the details about the deal, but later cited a secrecy clause.
Gandhi said the French president had clearly conveyed to him that there was no problem in sharing details relating to the Rafale deal worth Rs 58,000 crore. Alleging corruption in the deal, the Congress has been demanding details, including cost of equipment and weapons, but the government has refused to share them citing a secrecy pact with France, he said.
Countering his allegations, Sitharaman said all charges are absolutely wrong” and added the initial agreement for the deal was signed when the UPA was in power in 2008.
BJP leaders said Gandhi’s accusations that Modi benefitted one industrialist in the Rafale deal and ‘betrayed’ the Indian Army in Doklam were among his several defamatory allegations against the prime minister. Their privilege motion against him would include these “unsubstantiated” charges.
The NDA government had signed a deal with France-based Dassault Aviation to purchase 36 Rafale jets.