Launching a scathing attack on the Gandhi family as well as Robert Vadra over the Rafale deal, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani spoke exclusively to Republic TV, stating that Congress President 'Rahul Gandhi and Robert Vadra are working hand in glove'.
After the twin news break by Republic TV, one on Monday and other on Tuesday, it has been all but confirmed that Vadra has links with arms dealer and middleman Sanjay Bhandari, the man who tried to get the Rafale deal during the UPA era. And speaking on the connection of Rahul Gandhi and Vadra in this matter, she said:
"Rahul Gandhi cannot distance himself from Robert Vadra on this issue. If Rahul Gandhi speaks against Vadra, then Vadra will expose all the wrongdoings of Rahul and his family. If Rahul Gandhi isn't connected , then why is he posing question on behalf of Vadra's friends? And questions that are not steeped with facts, but actually imaginary positions that he is taking."
The former HRD minister also lashed out at the Congress president for his continuous tirade against PM Modi, which included calling him a 'chor'. "They've called him chor (thief), neech (low-class), anpad (illiterate), gawar. But each time he (PM Modi) comes back stronger. Rahul Gandhi is trying the good old strategy of politics of repetitive, slurs. This is why people of this country know that Congress has a political delinquent for a president. 'Bada maza aayega' (There will be a lot of fun), not even a school child talks like that," she added on this matter.
Further, Smriti Irani also went onto mock Rahul Gandhi regarding the recent events which took place in Amethi. The Congress supremo had given a speech at his constituency, wherein he used words like 'there will be a lot of fun', before again calling PM Modi a 'thief'.
But his statements weren't met in a positive manner by the people of Amethi, who staged protests against him. A large number of crowd gathered and shouted slogans against him for his comments.
And taking the protests as an example, Smriti Irani stated that Amethi people also find Rahul Gandhi as a liability. "The fact that he had to leave his own bastion, after he tried to unleash a malicious campaign against the Prime Minister and the people of Amethi came out in full force. The fact that he had to cancel his programmes in Amethi, the bastion of Gandhi family for 50 years. The fact that the people of Amethi will not put up with his political nonsense anymore will surely giving Rahul Gandhi a food for thought," the Textiles minister said.
Sources in the Congress party indicated that it was Smriti Irani who brought forward the protests in that constituency. When asked if she was responsible for the events which unfolded in Amethi, she said," I am responsible for a man who has let go of any kind of reasoning? I am responsible for an MP who is missing in action when his constituents need him? I am responsible for a man who does not know whether a fully weaponised craft costs how many crores, goes around and fumbles, says Rs 526 for one aircraft. I am responsible for Congress' Yuvraaj's stupidity or for the fact that he thinks this is a political lollipop handed to him, 'which would be very fun'?
"The Congress has to accept, this man, whom they grudgingly made the Congress president is a liability for his party that Amethi is today discarding him as a liability must be a shocker for them. This discarding of Rahul Gandhi was long awaited by the people of Amethi. If I am responsible, then Rahul Gandhi is so weak a leader that he will flea because of a Smriti Irani who is nowhere near Amethi today but sitting somewhere in Gujarat doing some work. That means the power which the Gandhi family has in their bastion is nothing but gas."
Rahul Gandhi has been very vocal about the Rafale issue, claiming the BJP government has lied to the country on many issues, including the price. But Smriti Irani, arguing that it is facts vs imagination, said, "Fully weaponised aircraft, India is today getting from France at a 20% cheaper price. Rahul Gandhi isn't enjoying this. Till now, the imagery created is that any business Robert Vadra does, Rahul Gandhi has no relation to it. It is now very clear that the Rahul-Vadra are hand in glove.
"Nothing was being held back. Let me tell point by point. Arun Jaitley and Nirmala Sitharaman, both inside and outside parliament have point by point given entire facts on the Rafale deal. Rahul Gandhi is not interested in facts. He is interested in only being a political caricature. 36 aircrafts, fully weaponised have been given by France to India. No aircraft is being manufactured in India. The price of basic aircraft in NDA is 9% cheaper than what it was during Congress-led UPA time. Does Rahul Gandhi know any of this, or is he so devoid of facts that he couldn't care less what he talks. Rahul Gandhi is indulging in spit and run politics, because he finds fun in it."
All the hue and cry about Rafale deal reignited earlier this month after ex-France President Francois Hollande claimed that it was the Indian government which chose Anil Ambani's Reliance as the interlocutor, and that Franch government had no say in it. The comments gave opposition parties in the country, especially Congress, a chance to attack the Narendra Modi-led BJP government on this matter.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who had initially brought up this issue during the no-confidence vote earlier this year, attacked PM Modi, calling him a 'chor' on a number of occasions while accusing BJP of helping Anil Ambani get the Rafale deal.
On Monday, in his latest attack, the Congress supremo while speaking in Amethi said, "The man (Prime Minister Modi), who came to remove corruption, has himself given Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani. The fun has just begun, things are set to turn more interesting. In the next 2-3 months you will have fun after we will show you Narendra Modi's work - Rafale, Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Demonetisation, Gabbar Singh Tax. All of it is theft. One by one, we will show that Narendra Modi ji is not a watchman, but a thief."
But his recent statements brought forward a strong reply from BJP, led by PM Modi. In the battleground of Madhya Pradesh, which will head to elections in 2019, PM Modi said, "The Congress party is failing to form an alliance in the country, and even if they are successful, the coordination seems impossible. That is why they are trying to form an alliance outside India. Now, some other country will decide who will become the Prime Minister of India.”
His comment on 'International Mahagathbandhan' was in relation to the support given by Pakistani leaders to Rahul Gandhi, who have backed him to oust Modi and become the next PM of India.
First it was present I&B minister Fawad Hussain, who used two of Rahul Gandhi's tweet as reference to attack Modi. Soon after, former Interior minister Rehman Malik came out with a series of tweets, showing complete support for Rahul Gandhi to dethrone Narendra Modi as the PM.