Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally at Suratgarh in Rajasthan today as part of his campaign for the 2019 General Elections. His speech, as has become the norm, was replete with half truths and complete fiction as he made a last-ditch effort to avert a defeat in the upcoming polls. At this point, we are convinced that if Rahul Gandhi chose to pursue a career in writing fantasy, he would sell more copies than the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings combined.
Here, we examine 10 lies peddled by Rahul Gandhi in his speech at Rajasthan.
1. The ‘Vichardhara’
The Congress President began his speech by terming the Lok Sabha elections as a battle of ideologies, as he has done so often in the past. He claimed that the BJP endorsed the idea of two nations and spread hatred while his party advocates for brotherhood, love and unity. As the saying goes, the elephant has two sets of teeth, one for chewing and the other for display.
The Congress party is the same party that created the myth of Saffron Terror and jailed innocent Hindus to achieve their political objective. It’s the same party whose member goes to Pakistan and says that the enemy country should get rid of Prime Minister Modi if it wishes for dialogues to happen between the two countries. It’s the same party that tried hard to drive the Lingayats out of the Hindu fold. It’s the same party which has tried time and again to divide Hindus on the basis of language and region. The Congress’ stance on ‘brotherhood’ appears to be pretty clear: Divide Hindus on the basis of caste, creed, language and region while indulging in blatant minority appeasement for the sake of vote-bank politics.
2. The MNREGA Lie
The scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty also claimed that the Narendra Modi government had destroyed the MNREGA and other welfare schemes launched by the UPA government. In reality, the NDA government has strengthened the MNREGA and has augmented its budget to Rs. 60,000 crores, its highest ever allocation, in the interim budget presented earlier this year. The scheme has also been strengthened by implementing structural reforms to ensure that the benefits are given directly to the poor.
3. No, Rahul Gandhi, MiG-21 jets did not ‘attack Pakistan’
He again displayed his lack of knowledge when he claimed that Mig-21 Jets manufactured by HAL had ‘attacked Pakistan’. In reality, the cross-border counter-terrorism operation was conducted by the Mirage 2000 jets which are manufactured by Dassault. Furthermore, while it is true that the Mig-21 is manufactured by HAL, parts of it are sourced from Russia. Furthermore, the HAL whose capabilities Rahul Gandhi appears to trust so blindingly was admonished by a Parliamentary Committee that’s headed by a senior leader of Congress, Mallikarjuna Kharge, himself. The Panel had expressed “serious concerns” over HAL’s inefficiency.
4. The Rafale Saga
Another issue which Rahul Gandhi has relied on time and again despite the Supreme Court giving the Government a clean chit on the issue is the Rafale Deal. He claimed in the rally that the UPA government had two conditions for the construction of the jet. Firstly, they had to be manufactured in India and secondly, they will be bought at a price of just over Rs. 500 crores. However, the Congress President fails to mention that his government was unable to reach a deal on the matter despite negotiations and the IAF’s dire need for cutting edge aircraft. Speculations have also been made that one of the reasons Rahul Gandhi is so against the Rafale Deal is because of his intimate links to Eurofighter lobbyists, the competitor to the Rafale.
The Rafale is one issue on which Rahul Gandhi has lied over and over and over again. In the past, various ministers of the Government of India and both Dassault Aviation and Reliance had clarified on the matter and punctured his various lies. Things had reached such a stage that even the French government had to come out and dismiss his frivolous allegations. Even the Supreme court has debunked all the allegations made by Rahul Gandhi about the Rafale deal, reiterating the same points the Indian Government and others have been repeating continuously. But it appears that the Congress President is in no mood to relent.
Rahul Gandhi also claimed that Narendra Modi had insisted that Dassault partner with Reliance as Anil Ambani was ‘his man’. He based his assertion on the claims allegedly made by former French President Hollande whom he wrongly addressed as the current President of France. Hollande’s claims were rubbished by Dassault and despite repeated denials by Dassault of any pressure on it to choose Reliance as one of the numerous offset partners, Rahul Gandhi continues to lie on the matter.
Even the late Manohar Parrikar was not spared by the Congress President. He used the Fake News story of N Ram at the Hindu to claim that the Ministry of Defense officials had registered their complaint with the manner in which the deal was negotiated. The Hindu had published a cropped image of the document and Rahul Gandhi had chosen to run ahead with the fake narrative. However, when the whole document surfaced, it came clear that the then Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar was aware of the negotiations and remarked that both PMO and French President offices were monitoring the government to government deal, and the comments of the secretary is an overreaction.
5. The 30,000 crores lie
Since Rafale had been brought up, the Rs. 30,000 crore lie could hardly be far behind. As the price of the aircraft, Rahul Gandhi keeps changing the amount he claims that ‘Modi has gifted to Ambani’. Sometimes he says it is ₹1 lakh crore, while sometimes it goes up to ₹1.30 lakh crore, both the figures substantially more than the total value of the contract for 36 aircraft. Even the ₹30,000 crore is more than the total offset of around ₹29,000 crore in the deal, while the share of Dassault in offset obligations is much lower, as other vendors in the deal – MBDA, Thales and Safran – also have offset obligations against their respective shares in the deal.
Dassault will be investing around €100 million in the joint venture with Reliance as part of offset obligations related to the Rafale deal, which is less than 3% of the total offset obligation. Reliance is not getting US$20 billion or even US$4 billion as Rahul Gandhi seems to believe, the current investment is less than USD$ 120 million.
6. The Industrialists Loan Waiver Lie
Repeating another of his lies from his ‘Hall of Fame’ record, Rahul Gandhi said, “Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley has waived off loans worth Rs. 3.5 lakh crore of the top 15 industrialists in the country.” However, that figure has been changing constantly and moreover, he hasn’t bothered to offer any evidence for his claims whatsoever. In November 2016, addressing a large group of Congress activists in Bhiwandi, Rahul Gandhi claimed that the Modi government had then waived off loans worth Rs 1.1 lakh crores of big industrialists. During campaigning for Gujarat assembly polls in 2017, Rahul Gandhi inexplicably increased this figure by astounding 20,000 Crores to Rs 1.3 lakh crores and repeated the same trite. In Karnataka, he went a step ahead and conjured up another grand figure- Rs 2.5 Lakh crores of industrialists’ ‘loans’ being waived off by the Modi Government, again with no proof whatsoever.
The truth, of course, is polar opposite to the lies that Rahul Gandhi peddles. As in November, 2018, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code implemented by the Modi government had led to the recovery of Rs. 3 lakh crore in 2 years. Therefore, the NDA government has not waived off the loans of capitalists, he had recovered from them a great deal of money that was owed.
7. The Farmer Loan Waiver Lie
Rahul Gandhi also claimed that the Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan had waived off the loans of farmers in “2 days”. What he did not mention was the complete sham the loan waiver was. A farmer who was under a debt of Rs. 24,000 got a waiver of only Rs 13. Days after the waiver in MP, a farmer had committed suicide as he wasn’t eligible. Farmers went so far as to threaten mass suicides over the loan waiver.
Dubious cases of non-existent farm loans being waived off have been reported in Congress led Rajasthan as well. Scores of names have appeared in the list of beneficiaries for the farm loan waiver scheme who had no loans against their names.
In Karnataka as well, which is another Congress-ruled state, farmers have been complaining against the government after several instances of farmers receiving repayment notices came to light despite Congress’ claims to have waived-off farm loans.
8. The Arun Jaitley-Vijay Mallya ‘meet’ Lie
The Congress President also claimed that Arun Jaitley met with the disgraced business tycoon Vijay Mallya before the latter fled to the United Kingdoms. The matter initially surfaced when Mallya made the comment at a London Court. Jaitley had already clarified the matter and asserted that the businessman had misused his privilege as a parliamentarian to approach him and that he had never given him any appointment.
Then, a Congress leader claimed that he had personally witnessed the two of them having an intimate discussion for at least 20 minutes. However, it was conclusively proven that Jaitley’s schedule on that day made it impossible for him to have that particular discussion for so long.
Moreover, the UK government has approved the extradition of Mallya. His properties are being attached by Law Enforcement Agencies as well and preparations are being made to sell them off as well. On certain days, Mallya can be spotted on Twitter weeping profusely saying that the NDA government is being too harsh on him.
9. The CBI War
Rahul Gandhi claimed that the Supreme Court had directed the government to reinstall Alok Verma as the chief of CBI. He also said that Narendra Modi had removed the CBI chief soon after he was reinstated. In reality, the SC had reinstated Verma only on a technicality and asserted that the government should have referred the matter to the high-level Select Committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition to initiate Alok Verma’s removal. And it was this select committee which had removed Verma from his position.
10. The Jay Shah lie
The Congress President insinuated that Jay Shah, son of BJP President Amit Shah, had benefited greatly from the policies of the NDA government and that his business worth Rs. 50,000 crores transformed into a business that generated Rs. 80 crores on a monthly basis. It was based on a dubious claim published by alleged journalist Rohini Singh for which she is now facing a defamation suit. We had completely busted the Fake News report here.
Rahul Gandhi’s strategy for General Elections appears clear. Inundate the news cycle with repeated lies to mislead the voters with assistance from ‘Pliant Media‘ that never raises a question and sprinkle just enough doles such as the unrealistic minimum income dole to keep people interested. Whether he will be successful in his endeavour, only time will tell.