Week won, weekend lost, but Congress thinks Rafale-verdict isn't setback
Despite the Supreme Court saying on Friday that it doesn't find any reason to launch a probe into the Rafale deal, the Congress didn't see it as a setback. The Congress, which made the purchase of 36 fighter jets an election issue, said the apex court didn't look at all points. Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the government didn't give all facts.
Giving a much-needed relief to BJP led Centre, the SC bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi noted that after observing the documents they have concluded there was no 'favoritism' in the deal. The Opposition led by Rahul Gandhi had asked the Centre to reveal the pricing, but they cited secrecy issue. During campaigns in poll-bound states, Gandhi leveled crony-capitalism allegations on PM Narendra Modi.
Needless to say, the alleged scam in Rafale helped Congress in assembly elections. In several of his rallies, Gandhi reiterated that PM Modi struck a deal with France to favor Anil Ambani and Reliance Defence. He claimed farmers' loans were not waived but capitalists were favored. Congress scooping three Hindi heartland states, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, from BJP was a result of this.
The SC verdict has dampened the Congress' prospects of turning it into a potential issue during Lok Sabha elections. But Congress leaders aren't losing hope. Jyotiraditya Scindia said, "The Supreme Court order is not a setback as the Rafale deal is still an issue in the people's court. And the party will continue to raise the issue in the Parliament."
Senior BJP leaders Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh came down heavily on Gandhi. The ruckus in the Parliament, with BJP leaders joining the chorus that Gandhi should apologize, led to the Lok Sabha being adjourned on Friday. Addressing a press meet, Shah said, "Rahul Gandhi should come clean on his source of information, based on which he and his party leveled such baseless allegations."