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Congress Accepts Arun Jaitley's Challenge, Ready For A Debate On Rafale

HARSH RANJAN | 0
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| January 1 , 2019 , 16:26 IST

Congress senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday "party accepts the government's challenge for a debate on Rafale fighter jets in parliament and asked Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to decide a time for the debate on January 2.

Kharge's comment came after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's said that the party was "running away" from a debate.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Kharge should begin the discussion on the issue immediately and asserted that the government was ready to give a reply.

When the House was about to be adjourned for the day, Kharge reminded Speaker Sumitra Mahajan of the debate and sought time for it. Mahajan said she will decide on the timing but Kharge can't extract a decision on the date and time immediately.

Sounding very annoyed Sumitra Mahajan said "You keep your challenges to yourself. Don't challenge me."

The Congress alleges that the deal to buy Rafale jets from Dassault was steeped in corruption and crony capitalism.

Party chief Rahul Gandhi, who has led the attack on the BJP-led government over the deal, has alleged that the offset deal worth Rs. 30,000 crore was given to Reliance Defence, which has no experience in defence manufacturing.

The state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was bypassed to give undue benefit to Mr Ambani's company, he has said.

On Monday, when they again made the demand, shouting slogans, Mr Jaitley challenged the principal opposition, saying, "If you have the courage, begin the debate immediately".

In response, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said repeating the same lie again and again would not make it a truth. The government is ready for discussion on the matter but why is the Congress "running away", the minister asked.

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Sumitra Mahajan said  before adjourning the House for the day."I am not saying no...why should I say no...In fact, the House was prepared for debate but something happened and you (Congress) started demanding JPC probe...you keep your challenges to yourself... don't challenge me. When the debate will take place, I will decide...you will decide."