Defence Minister and BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said Congress President Rahul Gandhi has lost his credibility after he expressed regret over his remarks on the Supreme Court’s order in the Rafale jet deal.
The apex court had asked the Congress President to respond on his remarks made last week wherein had attributed his “Chowkidar chor hai” remarks to the top court. Gandhi on Monday accepted that the “court never said these words.”
Addressing a press conference, Sitharaman said the Congress had diluted its stand on national security after its leader P. Chidambaram sought to change India’s behaviour toward Pakistan to normalise ties.
Coming down heavily on Gandhi, the Defence Minister said the regret expressed by him was done as part of “political convenience” and to avoid “contempt of court”.
“It was done to escape the wrath of the court…I would definitely say that it is a matter of credibility which is affected badly when people in public life are pushed to the circumstances to have to regret having said something based on untruth,” she said.
“Rahul Gandhi’s credibility has taken a beating. He keeps on repeating untruths. It is a matter of grief.”
Sitharaman said she felt “sorry” that the Congress was dependent on “falsehood”.
She asked the Congress to come clear on what behavioural change it wanted from the government in relation to Pakistan.
“Do they want us to stop taking action against terrorism? Do they want us to compromise on our territory? Do they want the government of India to state that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory?” she said.
She said it was “astonishing” that senior Congress leader Chidambaram wanted a behavioural change.
Highlighting the Congress’ electoral promises of dilution of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and sedition laws, Sitharaman said the party’s manifesto was criticised by people for being “terrorist-friendly”.
“They further diluted it by asking behavioural changes. It is surprising that such statements come from the Congress even during elections,” she added.