The Congress chief’s regret in Supreme Court gave the BJP a fresh opportunity to pounce on him, claiming that Gandhi is a “liar of the first order”.
New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday expressed regret in the Supreme Court for “incorrectly” attributing his “Chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hai” remarks to the apex court’s verdict in the Rafale case, sparking a bitter Twitter war between the BJP and the Grand Old Party on the eve of voting in 15 states for the third phase of Lok Sabha polls on Tuesday.
Admitting that he had misquoted the Supreme Court after its ruling on the Rafale fighter jet deal, Mr Gandhi said that he had done it as “rhetorical flourish in the heat of political campaigning”.
“My political opponents wrongly projected that I had deliberately and intentionally suggested that the Supreme Court had said ‘Chowkidar chor hai’’. Nothing could be farther from my mind,” he said in his affidavit to the Supreme Court.
In an undertaking to the top court, Mr Gandhi said, “I will not attribute any views, observations or findings to the court in political addresses to the media and in public speeches, unless such views, observations or findings are recorded by the court.”
He added that he had made the “rhetorical statements” relying upon electronic and social media reportage and the version of workers and activists surrounding him.
The filing of the “regret” affidavit in the top court did not stop Mr Gandhi from maintaining his attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal as he tweeted on Monday saying that May 23 will see people’s verdict that “kamal chhap chowkidar (lotus brand watchman)” is the thief and that justice will be done, with the hashtag #ChowkidarChorHai.
The Congress chief’s regret in Supreme Court gave the BJP a fresh opportunity to pounce on him, claiming that Mr Gandhi is a “liar of the first order”. The Congress hit back accusing the ruling party of “blasphemous misrepresentation” of its chief’s reply to the apex court.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who had filed the criminal contempt petition against Mr Gandhi for “incorrectly attributing some remarks to the apex court for its April 10 judgment on the Rafale jet deal matter, said her prayers before the apex court will be that the “strictest possible rebuke be awarded to Rahul Gandhi”. The top court is scheduled to hear Ms Lekhi’s petition on Tuesday.
Referring to Mr Gandhi’s affidavit, Ms Lekhi said, “It’s an admission of guilt and thus contempt. Considering the need to protect the integrity of the court in these testing times, such an admission is a vindication of the petition.”
The apex court on April 15 had given a categorical clarification that in its Rafale judgment on review petitions there was no occasion for it to make a mention of the contemptuous observation that “chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hai” as had been attributed to it by Mr Gandhi. It had given a week’s time to the Congress chief to explain his stand on the petition.
BJP national spokesperson G.V.L. Narsimha Rao said the Congress president is “liar of the first order” in public opinion as he attempted to “manufacture a lie and create a controversy in the Rafale deal”.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that Mr Gandhi has very low credibility which has been eroded further with the Congress president expressing regret in the Supreme Court over his statement in connection with the Rafale judgment.
Hitting back, Congress spoke”sperson Randeep Surjewala said, “The BJPs blasphemous misrepresentation of Rahulji’s reply to the SC is itself a criminal contempt of court proceedings... Issue is sub-judice, stop passing verdict today!...We reiterate – only one watchman is a thief.”
He said, in a tweet, “Fakery has no boundaries. Lies no limitations, Disinformation no confines!” and said Mr Modi and his “bhakt channels” are habitual offenders in “spewing lies”.
He asked whether the Prime Minister did not give an interview saying the Rafale matter has been cleared by the apex court.
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