Amethi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, saying the country’s chowkidar (watchman) had committed chori (theft) and spoken on various issues but not on the deal to purchase fighter jets from France.

Addressing a gathering in his constituency in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, he also accused Modi of not fulfilling his promises to youth, farmers and other sections and urged people to vote out the BJP-led government.

Gandhi targeted the Modi government over the frauds related to fugitive offenders Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi.

He said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had initially said she would reveal the price of Rafale fighter jet but later declined to do so.

Gandhi recalled his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and said the French leader had said that the price of the fighter jet could be disclosed.

He alleged that the Modi government had purchased Rafale fighter jets at nearly 300 per cent of the cost negotiated by the previous UPA government.

“The chowkidar is quiet,” Gandhi alleged.

'3 times the price'

He also referred to the remarks of former French President Francois Hollande that India proposed the name of Reliance Defence for the offset contract.

“I raised [Rafale issue] in Parliament and Modi could not make eye-to-eye contact... Why did you purchase the fighter jets at three times the price? Why was offsets contract taken away from HAL?” he asked.

“The watchman of the country indulged in theft,” he said adding the “watchman of the country” took out [Rs300 billion, Dh15.25 billion] from the pockets of soldiers and martyrs and gave it to an industrialist.

“That’s why the watchman of the country can speak about everything but not the Rafale deal. He does not have the guts. He can give speeches but not reply to the questions,” Gandhi said.

Mallya fiasco

He said Vijay Mallya had outstanding loans of over [Rs90 billion] but was allowed to escape by the BJP-led government.

The Congress leader said Mallya had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before he left the country but the CBI or ED were not informed.

“If a police constable lets a thief flee, he is put in jail,” Gandhi said, and added that “five-10 industrialists” were benefiting in the Modi regime.

Gandhi also attacked the government over demonetisation and accused it of failing to fulfil promises.

“Narendra Modi had promised that two crore youth will get jobs every year and [Rs1.5 million] deposited in account of every individual. We have to remove the RSS-BJP government, make the Congress win and bring progress to Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to Amethi, said he will fight for the demands of the people and these will be fulfilled once the party comes to power.

Earlier on his arrival, Gandhi was received by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) chief Raj Babbar at the Chowdhary Charan Singh International Airport.

On Tuesday, he is scheduled to attend a meeting with district officials and discuss the progress of other works undertaken in the constituency.