Rahul Gandhi peddling lies, lost credibility: Nirmala Sitharaman

Clay Curtis
April 23, 2019

On a day Rahul Gandhi expressed regret in the Supreme Court over his remarks in connection with the top court's Rafale judgment, the Congress president attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying on May 23, it will be decided in the people's court that the "lotus brand chowkidar" is indeed the thief. The slogan has been at the centre of "intense and frenzied debate" during the Lok Sabha elections of 2019.

He said the "unfortunate juxtaposition" was misused by his political opponents.

Submitting his affidavit in response to the criminal contempt petition moved by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi in the top court, Gandhi accepted that the words were never used by the court and his attribution came in the heat of the moment when he was campaigning in Amethi. It has been used (and misused) by my political opponents to project that I had deliberately and intentionally suggested that this Court had said Chowkidar Chor Hai!

"Nothing could be farther from my mind", Mr. Gandhi said.

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The apex court on April 15 had given a categorical clarification that in its Rafale judgment there was no occasion for it to make a mention of the contemptuous observation that "chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hain" as has been attributed to it by Gandhi.

Gandhi said he had responded to media queries in the context, and it was done during hectic political campaigning "without having seen, read or analyzed the order" at that stage. He said the comments merely reflected the "general sense of victory and exhilaration amongst those who had been campaigning for inquiry into the Rafale case, which is one of the most prominent political and social issues in the country for many months".

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday slammed Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for repeating "chowkidar chor" jibe in Amethi rally, hours after he apologised to Supreme Court over the remark. "He is replacing his personal statement as the Supreme Court's order and trying to create prejudice". He said he was of the "firm belief" that Mr. Modi was "involved in misdemeanors" in the Rafale deal.

"In any event, misrepresentation of a public figure can not be the basis of and is irrelevant to a contempt petition", Mr. Gandhi said.

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