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Rafale debate put off to today


Rafale debate put off to today

New Delhi: The Rafale debate initiated by Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday has been put off to Friday as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for the day. The adjournment was forced by the disruption caused by the AIADMK and TDP in the well. It was Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s turn to reply to the debate on Thursday.

Incidentally, Fridays are reserved for private members’ business in the afternoon. Of course, the Rafale debate can be squeezed in the window between 2 pm and 3.30 pm. But if that does not happen, the debate spills over to Monday.
The adjournment came even as Rahul tweeted that Prime Minister Modi has fled from Parliament, which reinforces his previous day’s tweet: “Will he show up? Or send a proxy.”

So, it seems the PM has fled Parliament & avoided taking his open book Rafale exam, and is instead lecturing students at Lovely University in Punjab. “I request the students there to, respectfully, ask him to please answer the 4 questions posed to him by me, yesterday,” Rahul said keeping up the tempo.

On Wednesday, Rahul had tweeted the questions in advance for Modi to answer:

Q1. Why 36 aircraft, instead of the 126 the IAF needed?
Q2. Why 1,600 crore, instead of 560 crore per aircraft. 
Q3. Why AA instead of HAL?

In another tweet, he said: “I had held back Q3 because Madam Speaker had said, “no talking about the Goa tape!” But the missing Q3 has become as controversial as Rafale. So on popular demand: 
Q4. Modi Ji, please tell us why Parrikar Ji keeps a Rafale file in his bedroom & what’s in it?

Meanwhile, the Rafale issue also ignited a brief altercation between the Congress and External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in the Rajya Sabha during the question hour. Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma wanted release of the minutes of the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and then French president Hollande, given the controversy over the deal.

Minister Swaraj objected to use of the word “controversy” as uncalled for, asserting that it existed only in the Congress members’ mind. This prompted angry exchanges between Congress and BJP MPs, following which the Congress MPs staged a walkout

 



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