With just a day left for the Winter Session to start, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to a debate over the Rafale deal in Parliament, sources have told Republic TV on Monday. This came after Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad asked the Prime Minister for a debate and demanded the Joint Parliamentary Committee hold a proper enquiry into the Rafale deal, during the all-party meeting.
The Congress had made the Rafale deal a major poll plank ahead of the 2018 and 2019 election under Party president Rahul Gandhi's instruction, with the party leaders making numerous addresses calling 'scam' in the government-to-government deal of the purchase of Rafale fighter jets. Recently, when asked about AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel's extradition to India, Rahul Gandhi chose to reply on the Rafale deal instead.
During the no-confidence motion in July 2018 against PM Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi had contended that French President Emmanuel Macron had told him that no agreement signed by India and France had stopped the country from revealing the fighter aircraft's pricing. The Congress president had met French President Macron during his March visit to the country. However, the French foreign ministry shortly afterwards put out a statement refuting Rahul Gandhi's claims.
READ: 'My Decision To Go With Reliance On Rafale. Between The Brothers It's A Big Group And We've Been Talking Since 2011', Says Dassault CEO Eric Trappier Who Is Convinced That India Followed Procedure
Rahul Gandhi has issued a number of open challenges to the Prime Minister to participate in a debate over the details of the deal, particularly over the awarding of the offset contract to Anil Ambani's Reliance. The CEO of Dassault Aviation, however, has also dismissed that his company was compelled to select Anil Ambani's firm, putting forth that they had been looking at both Ambani brothers' companies since 2012. The details of the Rafale deal have also been submitted to the Supreme Court in a sealed envelope.
On Monday, the government held an all-party meeting, chaired by PM Narendra Modi, in the national capital. The meeting was attended by Union Minister Rajnath Singh and several opposition leaders including Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Communist Party of India's D Raja among others.
The Winter Session of Parliament will begin on December 11 in New Delhi. The session will conclude on January 8, 2019, and is likely to have a total of 20 sittings. This would be the last full-fledged Parliament session before the Lok Sabha polls. The Winter Session is going to begin on the same day when the counting of votes for the assembly elections in the five states namely, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Mizoram will take place.