The road that leads up to 23rd May 2019, when the results of the 2019 elections would be declared has been littered with Congress and its President, Rahul Gandhi’s, lies. Rahul Gandhi has turned lying almost into an art form and a force of habit. He has, despite clarifications even whiplash from the Supreme Court, continued to peddle falsities throughout the election season.
Here are the top 10 lies that Rahul Gandhi spread in the run-up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
1. 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. Rahul Gandhi has claimed repeatedly 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.
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.
2. Farm 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.
Recently, Kamal Nath, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh had interestingly admitted that Congress does not have a magic wand and cannot waive loans within 10 days.
3. Kailash Mansarovar yatra lie
In 2018, Congress had alleged that its party President Rahul Gandhi had not received any response from the government of India on his request for special permission to go for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Congress mouthpiece National Herald even grabbed it as an opportunity to criticise Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj citing that she responds promptly to every other request on Twitter.
Ministry of External Affairs then clarified that the ministry had received no such request from Rahul Gandhi. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar clarified that they have not received any request from Rahul Gandhi regarding Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
4. Lie about Modi passing a law to shoot down Tribals
Rahul Gandhi in April 2019 had declared that the Modi government has included a provision in the Adivasi law which will empower the government to shoot down Tribals (Adivasis) without having to face any consequences.
This was not only a blatant lie but also one that toed the line of Naxals.
He received a show cause notice from the Election Commission, and as usual, in his response, he said that he made the statement in the ‘flow of political speech’.
5. Lie about martyr status to CRPF and BSP jawans
Rahul Gandhi, while addressing a rally at Kangra, Himachal Pradesh claimed that paramilitary forces do not get the status of martyrs. He said that when his government comes to power, he will ensure that whenever someone gets martyred in the line of duty, he will get the status of a martyr.
As it turns out, the Congress President was spreading misinformation once again. According to the official stand of the Government on the matter, the term ‘martyr’ is not an official designation for any of the Armed Forces.
6. Lies on MNREGA
Rahul Gandhi claimed that the Modi government had “destroyed” MNREGA. The truth, however, is tha that the Modi government actually strengthened the scheme.
7. Modi is killing youth in North East
Congress President Rahul Gandhi levelled a very serious charge against Narendra Modi when he said that Modi is killing youths in the northeast. There can’t be a bigger lie than this. The region has become almost terror free under the current government, and only separatist terrorists are getting neutralised in encounters with security forces. During previous Congress regimes, the general public had to face severe harassment in operations conducted by security forces, which has become a thing of past now.
8. Rahul Gandhi used a case where Anil Ambani was represented by Kapil Sibal to further lies about the Modi govt and Indian armed forces
Rahul Gandhi in February shared a report involving Anil Ambani, which was completely unrelated to the Rafale deal, to claim that the Narendra Modi government had given the businessman the mythical figure of Rs. 30,000 crores that he keeps quoting.
There was a twist, however.
The report that Rahul Gandhi mentioned was talking about the Reliance Telecom-Ericsson case. And ironically, Ambani was represented in the court by Rahul’s close aide and senior Congress leader, Kapil Sibal, himself.
9. Lies about loans of big industrialists waived by Modi.
Rahul Gandhi has been showing an anti-corporate mentality for quite some time and advocating loan waiver for farmers like the one stop solution for all problems in the agriculture sector. He has alleged that Modi has waived lakhs of crore of loans of few big industrialists, while refused to waive loans of farmers and students etc.
But Rahul Gandhi is not sure how much amount of corporate loans have been waived by Modi, as he keeps changing the amount. According to the Congress president, Modi government has waived loans of 5.50 lakh crore / 3.50 lakh crore / 3.00 lakh crore / 2.50 lakh crore / 1.50 lakh crore / 1.40 lakh crore / 1.30 lakh crore / 1.10 lakh crore owed by richest industrialists.
The fact is, most of the bad debt owed by the corporate sector are from the UPA era, and the Modi government has brought in revolutionary reforms in resolving NPAs. The government had introduced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to resolve the issue, and it had already recovered Rs 3 lakh crores in just two years.
As Rahul Gandhi keeps naming Anil Ambani as the top beneficiary of loan waiver by Modi, it is necessary to mention that Anil Ambani’s Reliance Telecommunication was not given any leniency by the government in settling its dues. On the contrary, the government is opposing the asset sale of Reliance Telecommunication to Jio, which would have helped the company in settling the dues. Moreover, Ambani was about to go to jail for failing to pay dues, and he was saved at the last moment by his elder brother Mukesh Ambani, who is endorsing the Congress party in these elections.
On the other hand, fugitive Vijaya Mallya keeps whining that Modi government has confiscated more assets than what is due to banks by him, which shows the extent of efforts put by the current government in recovering corporate debt.
10. Lied that Supreme Court had said Chowkidar chor hai
Rahul Gandhi’s this lie is unique in this list, because he had to formally apologise for it, agreeing that he had lied. That is because the Supreme Court was involved in it, and he was slapped with a Contempt of Court notice. On April 10, Rahul Gandhi had stated that the Supreme Court order says, “Chowkidar Chor Hai” while talking to media in Amethi after filing his nomination. He had made the comment referring to the Supreme Court’s decision to accept stolen documents submitted by petitioners in the review petition against the Rafale deal. He had said that “Supreme Court has said, chowkidar ne chori ki hai”.
As SC had made no such comment, BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi had filed a contempt of court case against Rahul Gandhi for the remark. SC had clarified that it never made such a comment, and had issued a notice to him. Initially, Rahul Gandhi had refused to apologise for the same, and only said that he regrets that he had wrongly attributed the comment to the Supreme Court. But this was not acceptable to the apex court, and eventually, Rahul Gandhi had to tender an unconditional apology in the Supreme Court for “unintentionally and inadvertently” attributing the ‘Chowkidar Chow hai’ jibe against Prime Minister Modi to the court’s order on Rafale Review plea.