In what seemed like a speech reserved to attack the PM, Rahul Gandhi claimed the Karnataka government has kept its promise of waiving farm loans.

Rahul Gandhi challenges PM Modi on farm loan waiver Rafale deal at Ktaka rally
news Politics Monday, August 13, 2018 - 17:15

Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over farmer loan waiver and the alleged irregularities regarding the Rafale deal at a rally in Karnataka. The All India Congress Committee President arrived on Monday at Bidar to address a rally for the farming community ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Incidentally, this was Rahul’s first visit to the state after he attended the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in May. And it seemed like his speech on Monday was mostly reserved to attack the PM.

 He said that the Congress had kept its promise regarding farm loan waivers.

Rahul said, “We had promised you one thing. We had told you that when the Congress comes to power in Karnataka, the first thing we will do is to waive off farmer loans. Do you remember? “The Karnataka government has waived off Rs 31,000 cr worth farm loan. We fulfilled whatever we promised.”

He turns to BJP. “Your people (BJP) had written in the manifesto that they would waive farm loans in Karnataka. I challenge Narendra Modi from this stage that if he has 56-inch chest, why does he not give 50% of the money required to waive loans. No, he will not do it. But he waived loans worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore for rich Indians but for the farmers of Karnataka, he cannot spend a single rupee,” he added.

He also slammed PM Modi over his claim of increasing the Minimum Support Price for farm produce. On this, the Congress president said, “In the whole country, they have increased the MSP to Rs 10,000 crore. But the Karnataka government alone has waived loans three times the amount. This means that whatever they did for farmers for the whole country, the Karnataka government has done three times. But he (Modi) will travel around and claim that he works for farmers and their welfare.”

 PM gave Rafale deal to his friend Anil Ambani

 At Monday’s rally, Rahul once again raked up the issue of the Rafale deal and alleged corruption on part of the government. “Narendra Modi says 'do not make me the prime minister but make me the chowkidar (gatekeeper) of the country'. In the Parliament, when I spoke about Rafale aircraft (deal), I explained to the whole country that Narendra Modi has committed corruption.”

 Making his point, Rahul said, “In Bangalore, there is Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. For 70 years, HAL has been making flights for the country. The UPA government gave the Rafale deal to the public sector company. A total of 126 flights was to be bought and we told the French company that the flights will be made in Karnataka and lakhs of youth will get aeronautical engineering jobs.”

 He continued, “One aircraft was priced at Rs 526 crore. But Narendra Modi comes and removes HAL from the contract. He goes to Paris, France and changes the contract and states that India will not buy 126 aircraft but 36 aircraft. Besides, the cost of each aircraft in the new contract will be pegged at Rs 1,600 crore.”

 He further alleged that the deal was remade only to favour Narendra Modi's friend Anil Ambani. “He removed HAL from the contract instead gave it to his friend Anil Ambani. Interestingly, one company is building aircraft for 70 years but Anil Ambani has never made aircraft. The company, which Narendra Modi gave the contract to, started only 10 days before the contract was signed,” Rahul alleged.

 Rubbishing the claims of secret deal as stated by the government on the issue, Rahul said, “When the French President came to India, I met him and asked him if there was any secret pact between India and France with respect to the Rafale deal; and he told me that the price of the aircraft does not come under the secret pact.”

 He said, "I challenge PM Modi for a debate on the Rafale Deal. But, he will never accept.”

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