Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday made a fresh attack on the government over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, prompting Union Minister Piyush Goyal to hit back saying he is welcome to fight the 2024 general elections on the issue. In a tweet, Gandhi quoted a source-based news report which claimed that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has submitted its performance audit on defence offset contracts to the government with no mention of any offset deals related to the purchase of Rafale aircraft.
"Money was stolen from the Indian exchequer in Rafale," Gandhi alleged in his tweet without elaborating. In his Twitter post, the former Congress president also quoted Mahatma Gandhi's words: "Truth is one, paths are many".
In a sharp retort, Goyal, who is Railway Minister and a senior BJP leader, claimed that many in the Congress have confided that Gandhi's obsession with Rafale is damaging the party. "Many of Rahul Gandhi's Congress colleagues confide in private that Rahul's obsession with Rafale to wash off his father's sins is damaging the party. But if someone is wanting to self-destruct, who are we to complain? We invite him to fight the 2024 elections on Rafale," Goyal tweeted.
Gandhi had launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections, which the Congress lost. The Rafale aircraft deal was part of the central plan of the Congress' poll campaign.