Rajiv Gandhi didn't misuse INS Viraat for vacation: Congress
Indian politics has gotten more interesting and nastier than ever. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a rally, had alleged that late PM Rajiv Gandhi used INS Viraat as his 'personal taxi' for family trips. And now upping its ante against PM Modi, Congress accused him of distorting facts related to what it called an 'official visit' of Rajiv. Here's what went down.
Backstory: A 1987 vacation returned to haunt Congress
PM Modi, who is being attacked by the opposition for politicizing armed forces, turned the heat back on Congress by referring to a 1987 vacation. The Gandhis (Rajiv, Sonia, Rahul, and Priyanka) along with their friends went on a trip to Bangaram islands in Lakshadweep. India's premier warship INS Viraat was allegedly stationed there for 10 days while they reveled in leisure.
In response, Congress said facts don't matter to PM Modi
As the one-of-a-kind vacation hogged media limelight, Congress jumped to defend its towering leader. Spokesperson Pawan Khera said, "Vice Admiral (retired) Vinod Pasricha has told TV channels that this is a lie. Rajivji was on an official visit. It was not a holiday. Facts do not matter to Modi." He said PM Modi was seeking votes in the name of Pulwama attack.
Why not debate on demonetization, Rafale deal, unemployment: Congress
"He (PM Modi) doesn't have anything to talk about his own achievements. Rahul Gandhi has been challenging him for the last six months now to debate on Rafale deal, demonetization, unemployment, but Modi does not have the courage to speak," Khera told the press.
Khera reminded Rajiv was given clean chit in Bofors
Khera also berated PM Modi for talking about Bofors deal. To recall, PM Modi called Rajiv "corrupt number 1" at a rally. "It was a BJP-led government at the Centre when the Delhi High Court gave a clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi. It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government that decided against appealing the order," Khera reminded. He dared PM Modi to speak on Rafale.
Meanwhile, Surjewala accused Modi of misusing IAF jets
Separately, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted that PM Modi used IAF jets as his personal taxis for campaigning during elections. "You have made Indian Air Force jets your own Taxi! You have paid as low as Rs. 744 for using IAF jets for election trips! Scared of your own sins haunting u, you are shamelessly pointing fingers on others! (sic)" Surjewala tweeted.