Rafale deal: Cong to hold protest in Mumbai for PM Modi, Sitharaman's resignation

Maharashtra Congress leaders would participate in a protest march to be led by Ashok Chavan and Sanjay Nirupam on Thursday.

Mumbai: The Congress would hold a protest in Mumbai on September 27 demanding resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the Rafale fighter jet deal with France.

Maharashtra Congress leaders would participate in a protest march to be led by state unit Congress chief Ashok Chavan and his Mumbai counterpart Sanjay Nirupam Thursday.

The march would begin from Mahalaxmi Racecourse and culminate at the August Kranti Maidan, the party said in a statement Monday.

"The Congress, under the leadership of Chavan and Nirupam, will conduct a massive protest on September 27 to demand resignations of Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman," the statement said.

Nirupam also hit out at the Centre over rising prices of fuel. The price of petrol has reportedly crossed the Rs 90 (per litre)-mark in the financial capital of the country.

He accused the government of being insensitive towards the plight of the people vis-a-vis the rising prices of petroleum products.

"People voted for the BJP because it had promised to curb inflation which it claimed existed under the (erstwhile) rule of the Congress. The BJP should respect its (own) words if not the plight of the people," the statement quoted the Mumbai Congress chief as saying.

Nirupam demanded the government slash taxes on fuel if it "really cares about the common people". Maharashtra Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant advised people to start offering petrol and diesel as "wedding gifts".

"The prices of petrol may soon hit the Rs 100 (per litre) mark. Diesel too may soon attain that mark," he said in Thane earlier in the day.

The Congress has launched an offensive against the BJP government over the Rafale deal, alleging corruption and violation of rules by the Prime Minister.

It has also accused the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Defence Minister of "lying on the issue". Modi had announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighters after holding talks with the then French president Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris.

The controversy took a turn last week after Hollande claimed that the Indian government had proposed Reliance Defence's name as the offset partner for Dassault Aviation.

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