The controversy surrounding the Rafale deal is increasingly spiralling out of control for the ruling BJP and beleaguered Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While Congress President pounced on Modi and his party and even used the ‘thief’ jibe, the BJP responded back expressing its disgust over the president of a national party addressing a prime minister in such derogatory fashion.
The pain on the face of Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was visible when he addressed a news conference on Saturday. He said that the words used by Rahul were shameful adding that ‘no national president of any party has used such words against a PM of the country before.’
Many on social media were quick to attack him with ‘Look who’s talking’ jibes while reminding the minister about the kind of words Modi and his foot soldiers used for the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the second term of the UP government. In 2013, not just any BJP leader, but the saffron party’s entire group of MPs in the parliament had allegedly shouted ‘Prime Minister chor hai’ slogans.
A visibly hurt Singh had then expressed his anguish by saying, “…Have you heard of Parliament in any country where the opposition shouts ‘Prime Minister chor hai’. The type of things that have been said here….”
An unrepentant Arun Jaitley, the the Leader of the Opposition, had shot back saying, “have you heard of any country where the Prime Minister has won the vote of confidence by buying MPs?”
In 2013, Modi, then Gujarat’s chief minister, had launched a personal attack the then prime minister, Manmohan Singh during his independence day speech. Even his mentor and party patriarch had attacked him indirectly for using his independence day speech to score a political point.
Advani was then quoted as saying, “On this day making personal attack should be avoided… We should think about the decade ahead.”
The BJP taking the political discourse to a new low was also evident on Saturday when its supporters launched a Twitter hashtag, #RahulKaPuraKhandanChor. This was in response to Rahul’s ‘thief’ jibe for Modi and the Twitetr hashtag #Mera_PM_Chor_Hai in the wake of explosive revelations on the alleged corruption committed by the prime minister.
Hollande’s comments that the Indian government led by Modi had pushed Anil Ambani’s Reliance to be the Indian offset partner in the Rafale deal came as the most conclusive evidence of a corruption in the purchase of the fighter jets. Even some of the hardcore Modi supporters have conceded that Hollande’s comments were serious and may have considerably adverse impact on Modi’s future as the prime minister.