In run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi that if he really cared about farmers then the Centre should provide 50 per cent of the farm loan waived off in Karnataka by the JD(S)-Congress coalition government in the state last month.
Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Modi over his “56-inch chest” remark made at the election rallies during 2014 polls, Gandhi said, “I challenge Prime Minister Modi from this stage. Karnataka government waived off loans of farmers. I challenge you (Centre) to provide 50 per cent of the farm loan waived off in Karnataka. If you have 56-inch chest, I dare you to do this. But you won’t do this.”
Addressing a public rally at the Nehru Stadium here, Gandhi accused Prime Minister Modi of having failed to fulfill the promises made during the 2014 elections. He said, “We fulfilled all the promises we made during election campaigns. We had said that the Congress party will waive loans of farmers once we came in power in Karnataka and we did it.”
Continuing his tirade against the Prime Minister over unemployment issue in the nation, he claimed that the high profile controversial Rafale deal had snatched away job opportunities from Indians as the plane would be manufactured abroad.
Accusing Prime Minister Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of lying to the nation, he reiterated, “Nirmala Sitharaman Ji has lied to the youth of the nation. Prime Minister Modi has made fool of the nation and lied to us. She (Nirmala Sitharaman) said India and France have a secret pact and so they cannot reveal the price of Rafale aircraft. I asked France President if this is true and he denied.”
However, following Gandhi’s accusation on Rafale deal during the debate on no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha on July 20, France had clarified that there was a 2008 security agreement between the two countries in this regard that legally binds the two nations to protect classified information.
Gandhi scion, however, has remained defiant. Earlier when media asked him on the denial by France, he had said, “Let them deny if they want.