BJP submits privilege notice against Rahul Gandhi for ‘misleading’ Parliament over Rafale deal


New Delhi, The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday submitted a privilege notice against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, alleging that he misled Parliament in his speech during the no-confidence motion debate in Lok Sabha.

The privilege notice was submitted by the ruling BJP over Rahul Gandhi’s remark that Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had lied to the country on the Rafale deal under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Even as the BJP moved the privilege notice, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar hit out at the Gandhi scion while speaking to reporters outside Parliament. He termed the Congress president’s behaviour in the Lok Sabha as “childish”.

“It’s unfortunate that he has not grown up. It’s unfortunate that the president of the Congress is so ill-informed and immature,” said the minister, adding that according to the rules of the House, Rahul Gandhi should have given prior notice before making any allegations against any member.

He should have given substantiating material to the Speaker, the minister said. “BJP MPs will move a privilege motion against Rahul Gandhi for falsehood and misleading Parliament,” he further said.

While referring to the Rafale deal with France, Rahul Gandhi had said in the Lok Sabha on Friday that even as the government claims that there is a secrecy agreement to not reveal the details of the deal, French President Emmanuel Macron had confirmed to him that there was no such pact between the two nations.

However, shortly after his speech, the French government issued a statement saying a secrecy pact was inked between India and France in 2008, “which legally binds the two States to protect the classified information provided by the partner, that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment of India or France”.

The response was released by the French government in a Q & A format that spared it the need for an explanatory note on the controversy. “These provisions naturally apply to the IGA concluded on 23 September 2016 on the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircraft and their weapons. As the President of the French Republic indicated publicly in an interview given to India Today on 9th March 2018, ‘In India and in France, when a deal is very sensitive, we can’t reveal all details’,” said an unidentified spokesperson of France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Reacting to the statement, the Congress president had said, “Let them deny it if they want. He (Macron) said that before me. I was there, Anand Sharma and Dr Manmohan Singh were also there.”