Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday gave his first response to the sensational charge made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on former PM Rajiv Gandhi and his in-laws of using the Indian Navy's former flagship INS Viraat (now decommissioned) as "personal taxi".
Addressing a rally in Haryana's Sirsa, Rahul Gandhi remained silent on PM Modi's charges on the former PM and his father Rajiv Gandhi over misuse of INS Viraat and went onto reiterate his stance on the Rafale deal and demanded the PM to tell the citizens of the country about what happened in the Rafale fighter plane deal.
"You want to talk about Rajiv Gandhi, you want to talk about me, you can talk all you want. But make the citizens understand what you did in the Rafale matter. You tell the citizens what happened about the promise of employment that you made to the two crore people," Congress president said.
Reacting in the matter, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam claimed that PM Modi's lie has been exposed because Rajiv Gandhi used INS Viraat for the government programme. Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Nirupam alleged that Prime Minister Modi had lied about the 'INS Viraat used as a personal taxi to vacation'.
Here's what Sanjay Nirupam tweeted:
"Modi's lie has been exposed. Late Rajiv Gandhi was on an official trip on INS Viraat. Then Admiral Vinod Pasricha has said that he was alone. PM Modi said he was on a vacation with his whole family. There should be a list of Prime Minister's lie. Tauba! Tauba!"
While addressing a mega rally in Delhi on Wednesday, PM Modi claimed that the Nehru-Gandhi family has misused and insulted the INS Viraat after former PM Rajiv Gandhi used the warship to bring his in-laws for their vacation at an island.
"Congress' naamdaar family had misused the pride of the country, INS Viraat, like its personal taxi. They had insulted it. This incident is of that time when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country and they had gone out on vacation for 10 days. During that time, INS Viraat was stationed to guard the maritime boundaries, but it was sent to bring the Gandhi family who were going on vacation. After that, INS Viraat had stopped at a special island with their entire family. It was there for 10 days. Among those who were holidaying with Rajiv Gandhi were his in-laws," PM Modi said.
The Prime Minister further attacked the Gandhi family over using the INS Viraat by putting the country's security at risk.
"Now, the question arises whether the security of the country was put at risk when the foreigners were taken onto India's warship. Or did it happen just because he was Rajiv Gandhi it was his in-laws who had come from Italy. Is that why they got these privileges?" he added.
As per a report shared by the Prime Minister, it was in 1988 that the Gandhi family had stationed the INS Viraat off the coast of the Lakshadweep island on which they were vacationing. Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, their children Rahul and Priyanka along with four of their friends, and a number of family and family friends also joined them on the island where lavish preparations were made.