'Is the Clown Prince Out-clowning Himself?' Jaitley Hits Out at Rahul Gandhi Over Rafale Deal, NPAs

The finance minister called the Congress a 'bad loser' and said the CAG's view of the Rafale deal was not relevant after the Supreme Court’s clean chit.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of “concocting an alternative” on several issues, including the Rafale deal, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Non Performing Assets (NPA).

In a Facebook post, Jaitley said “if the factual narrative does not suit him [Gandhi] then concoct an alternative. Repeat the false narrative a dozen times and convince yourself that falsehood is in fact is the truth. Thereafter, you can comfortably live in self-delusion”.

Responding to the Congress chief’s recent allegations against him in a five-point post, the minister said “onus now lies on me to substantiate what I have said”.

Jaitley said Gandhi repeatedly alleged that a “private business house in India has got an advantage ranging from Rs. 38,000 Crore to Rs. 1,30,000 Crore” and “what was to be manufactured by HAL is now being manufactured by a private business house with no experience”.

In his response, Jaitley said the Rafale aircraft and its weaponry was not being manufactured in India at all, “neither by Dassault or by any other private company”. “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,” he said.

The minister attacked the Congress chief over the issue of NPAs, saying the loans were handed out during the UPA rule. “The Promotors of the defaulting companies have been thrown out through the IBC, and banks are successfully recovering their dues. Through the process of NCLT banks are recovering their loans,” he said.

Jaitley also called out Gandhi’s “cliché” of questioning “why mobile phones could not be manufactured in India”. “I corrected him by mentioning that when UPA went out of power there were only two units manufacturing mobile phones and their accessories. Today there are 120 units and expanding,” he said.

The minister said the Congress chief soon changed his example, only to wonder why footwear was not being manufactured in the country.

Calling Gandhi “ill-informed”, Jaitley said, “India has become the second largest manufacturer of footwear in the world. Our exports in footwear are about Rs.20,000 crores each year. He just has to take a trip to Bahadurgarh on the outskirts of Delhi to realise the competitive nature of India’s footwear industry.”

Jaitley then attacked Gandhi on the issue of Goods and Services Tax (GST), which the Congress chief has often referred to as the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’. “India has witnessed the most successful implementation of the GST. 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,” he said.

He added, “In the first 13 months, the Congress legacy of 31% tax (Excise + VAT + CST) has been reduced to 18% and 12% in relation to 334 commodities. This has also helped us to check inflation. He seems to be unaware of this.”

Jaitley also dismissed allegations that he was in touch with fugitive businessmen Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, asking, “Is it a personality issue where he [Gandhi] 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?”