Congress to move privilege motion against PM, Sitharaman over Rafale deal
New Delhi, July 23: The Congress has decided to move a privilege motion against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha on Rafale fighter jet deal issue.
The party decided to move the privilege motion in a special Congress Party briefing by former Defence Minister Shri A.K. Anthony and former union minister Anand Sharma.
Anand Sharma said, "PM and Defence Minister have misled the Parliament. The statement sent by French Govt talks of classified information on security, defence and operational capability; nowhere it refers to price. The price is not covered under the confidential agreement."
On the day of no-confidence motion, Congress President Rahul Gandhi accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of "lying" to the nation over the Rafale deal's 'secrecy'. He said that French President Emmanuel Macron told him that there was no binding secrecy clause in the Rafale deal.
However, Sitharaman, hit back at the Congress chief and termed as "absolutely wrong" Rahul's claim and said the initial agreement was signed when the UPA was in power in 2008.
France too issued a statement saying that a security agreement it concluded with India in 2008 legally binds the two countries to protect the classified information relating to operational capabilities of defence equipment, although pricing was not explicitly mentioned.
The BJP later moved a privilege motion against Rahul for levelling "baseless allegations" against the government over the Rafale deal.
Accusing Rahul Gandhi of "concocting" a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron over the Rafale deal, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said the Congress President has seriously hurt the image of an Indian politician before the world at large.