New Delhi: Congress on Thursday denied allegations made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the late Rajiv Gandhi used the INS Viraat as a “personal taxi” on a family vacation stating that for Modi “facts do not matter”.
At a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “Rajiv Gandhi was on an official visit and it was not a holiday, but facts do not matter to Prime Minister Modi.”
He said that the retired Indian Navy Vice Admiral Vinod Pasricha had given a clarification that the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was on an official visit on INS Viraat and not on a vacation.
The Congress leader criticised the NDA government, stating “Modi government has nothing to say about its achievements. PM Modi asks for votes on his failures and a prime example is Pulwama terror attack which happened due to
its monumental failure on internal security.”
He questioned, “Why is the Prime Minister Modi not debating on Rafale deal for even 25 minutes as asked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi who even reduced the duration to 10 minutes. BJP does not have the courage to debate on Rafale, demonetisation and failure on employment.”
“It is possible that BJP feels the late Rajiv Gandhi is responsible for their mistakes like demonetisation, Rafale and unemployment,” the Congress spokesperson said.
“In Rafale deal case, the BJP lied in front of the Supreme Court and there was a review petition in the court regarding the case. Were the Rafale files stolen by Rajiv Gandhi? Can all the mistakes committed by BJP in its tenure be attributed to Rajiv Gandhi and his vacations?” the Congress leader asked.
He further said, “We have asked through RTI who are those people who fly with Prime Minister Modi and his ministers on the state visits abroad.”
Hitting out at BJP, Khera said, “It is in our culture to not talk about negatively about the dead person, but if you want to debate on Bofors we are ready.”
“In 2003 during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, it was clarified in the High Court by Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohatgi that there is no evidence of Rajiv Gandhi’s involvement in Bofors. If Bofors is debated then Rafale must be debated as well,” he added.
Stating that one should not debate those who are alive, Khera said “Do we ever talk about Kargil coffin scam? Do not fight with those who are not alive?”
He said, “We are answering questions on Bofors and INS Virat now, but the incumbent government is not talking about issues liked demonetisation and farmers distress.”
“BJP is doing politics over Rajiv Gandhi who dies as a martyr and is a Bharat Ratna,” he added.
On being asked about Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal remarks over his support to Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister candidate if Congress guarantees statehood to Delhi, Khera said, “Prime Ministers are chosen by voters and people of India will decide that.”
“In a democracy, there are no bargaining and promises. Kejriwal is advised to have a proper understanding of the constitutional arrangement of Delhi,” he said.