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Congress Considers Itself Above Democracy, Judiciary, Says PM Modi in Prayagraj; Asks People to 'Stay Alert'

Charging that previous defence deals were tainted, he alleged that history of the Congress in terms of such deals 'belongs to (Italian businessman Ottavio) Quattrochi mama'.


Updated:December 17, 2018, 8:43 AM IST
Raebareli/Allahabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the Congress over the Rafale deal verdict, alleging that the party was trying to project the Supreme Court as a “liar” and was letting down the defence forces.

Addressing a rally at Raebareli, Modi called the previous defence deals by the Congress government "tainted" and dubbed Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochi and alleged middle man Christian Michel as "uncles" (of Congress). He also said the opposition party was "aligning" with forces that do not want to see India's defence forces becoming strong.

Modi also cited a couplet from Ramcharit Manas, saying there were some who only accept "lies" and share these with other people. "For these very people, the defence ministry, the defence minister, officers of the Indian Air Force, government of France, are all lies...now the Supreme Court also appears to be a liar to them," Modi said in his 50-minute address, of which nearly 30 minutes were dedicated to the Rafale deal.

In his address, the Prime Minister said truth will eventually triumph over the tendency to "speak lies". "There are two facets before the country...one is of the government which is making every possible effort to augment the strength of the defence forces, and the second is of those forces which want to weaken the country at every cost," he said.

This was Modi's first public meeting that took place in Sonia Gandhi's turf after the BJP lost the three heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the Congress and its allies.

Charging that previous defence deals were tainted, he alleged that history of the Congress in terms of such deals "belongs to (Italian businessman Ottavio) Quattrochi mama". Referring to the AgustaWestland chopper case, he said, "We have brought one uncle Christian Michel to India a few days back."

The 54-year-old British national is one of the three alleged middlemen being investigated by the CBI over charges of organising bribes for Indian politicians and bureaucrats to push for the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal.

"I want to know from the Congress as to why it is agitated and speaking lies repeatedly. Is it because there is no Quattrochi mama or Christian Michel in the defence deals done by the BJP government," he said.

Noting that after the Kargil conflict, there was a need for modern aircraft, the Prime Minister said, "The Congress ruled the country for ten years, but it did not allow the air force to get strengthened. Why? And under whose pressure?"

He also accused the Congress of failing to provide bulletproof jackets to jawans, saying "… After we came to power, we purchased 50,000 BP jackets in 2016," and that this year order for purchasing 1.86 lakh jackets from a domestic company has been placed.

Modi also paid tributes to the martyrs of the 1971 war and said on this day in 1971, the brave soldiers of India had defeated the forces that had become synonymous with terror, atrocity and anarchy.

Alleging that the Tejas project remained stuck during UPA regime, Modi said the BJP government has given approval for purchase of 83 new Tejasaircraft and Rs 1,400 crore has been approved to double the capacity of HAL for its manufacturing. He said the Centre had fulfilled the demand of One Rank One pension.

The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of some projects and inaugurated few others worth Rs 1,100 crore during his first visit to Sonia Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency.

At Prayagraj, ahead of the Kumbh Mela beginning January 15, the Prime Minister asked people to "beware of parties pretending to stand for democracy”. Modi charged the Congress always tried to weaken the institution of judiciary and the judicial system.

The Prime Minister said "recently we have seen that how they made an effort to bring a proposal of no-confidence against the Chief Justice of India. Threatening the judges is a part of their old thought process," he alleged.

It may be recalled that in an unprecedented step, Congress and six other opposition parties moved a notice for the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra in April this year, accusing him of five counts of "misbehaviour" and "misusing" authority.

Reacting to Modi’s comments, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the remark should be taken seriously only if they are made by a person who speaks the truth. "Our Prime Minister started his day in PM office by speaking a lie, working with malice and criticising Congress leaders. Some of such statements by the Prime Minister are providing 2 crore jobs and putting Rs 15 lakh in every citizen's account. A person who does not have truth in his DNA and has an old enmity with truth can never speak the truth", he said.

Earlier during the day, Sharma had urged the Supreme Court to recall its Rafale judgment and issue notices to the central government for contempt of court and perjury, alleging the Centre had provided false information to the apex court.

"We demand that the Supreme Court immediately recall that judgment which is void. It would be in the interest of the dignity of the Supreme Court to do so, because this entire episode has dented the dignity of the highest court which cannot be allowed," he told reporters, adding that what has happened is unacceptable.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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