Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday took a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi referring to him as a “clown prince”. Hitting back at the Gandhi scion over allegations of the Finance Minister meeting fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya before his departure to London, Jaitley said, “Is it a case of Clown Prince out-clowning himself?”
Taking to Facebook, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader gave a point-by-point rebuttal to several allegations levelled by the Congress chief on the government, ranging from Rafale fighter jets deal to fleeing of Mallya and Nirav Modi.
The Union Finance Minister responded to attacks by Rahul Gandhi on five issues – Rafale deal, Loans and NPAs, Goods and Services Tax (GST), Manufacturing units in India and Nirav Modi & Vijay Mallya.
Referring to repeated attacks by Rahul Gandhi over Rafale fighter jets deal with France, Jaitley claimed that no preference was being given to Reliance Defence and Anil Ambani. He pointed that Ambani’s company was just one among 120 offset suppliers. He also dismissed allegations of taking away the deal from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), saying that no aircraft or its weaponry were meant to be manufactured in India.
“All 36 aircrafts and their weapons in a fully flyable and usable form will arrive in India. After the supplies begin Dassault has to make purchases in India for 50% of the contract value. This is as per the UPA’s policy to promote make in India. If the total deal is for Rs. 58,000 Crore, 50% of that amounts to Rs. 29,000 Crore. These supplies to Dassault are to be made by over 120 offset suppliers and which the business house named is one of them. Dassault has said that only 3% of offset may come to that business house which is less than Rs. 1000 Crore,” said Jaitley.
On the issue of GST, the Finance Minister claimed that “India has witnessed the most successful implementation of the GST”.
He said, “The country has become one market, all check-points have been abolished, inspectors have disappeared and like Income-tax, the returns are now filed online and most assessments will be online. All States, including Congress ruled States have approved the model and the rates.”
The senior member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre then dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s allegations of him meeting Nirav Modi in Parliament. “I do not recollect ever having even seen Nirav Modi in my life. The question of his meeting me in Parliament does not arise. If he came to Parliament, as Rahul Gandhi claims, then reception records would show that. Where have I admitted all this Mr Gandhi?” said Jaitley.
“Is it a personality issue where he lies a dozen times and then in self delusion believes it to be true or is it a case of a ‘Clown Prince’ out-clowning himself?” he further said.