Clown prince is weaving falsehoods, says Jaitley

Responding to the jibe aimed at Rahul, Cong calls finance minister a court jester.

 New Delhi : Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday called Congress President Rahul Gandhi a “clown prince” in his blog and accused him of lying about the Rafale deal and on the issue of NPAs.

“Your temperament to concoct facts raises a legitimate question — do people whose natural preference is falsehood deserve to be part of the public discourse?” he asked. “Public discourse is a serious activity. It is not a laughter challenge. It cannot be reduced to a hug, a wink or [the] repetition of falsehood.”

‘‘The world’s largest democracy must seriously introspect whether public discourse should be allowed to be polluted by the falsehood of a Clown Prince,” Jaitley added.

“His strategy is simple — concoct a lie and repeat it as many times. This, at least, provides him some concocted material for otherwise an issueless Congress,” Jaitley argued.

Pat came retort from the Congress dismissing his conjectures and calling him a “court jester” who was penning blogs in a desperate quest to stay relevant.

Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala also tweeted some loaded questions for the Finance Minister to ponder over.

Please reply (says the tweet): 1. Why hide behind abuse when trapped in #Rafale maze? 2. Why supersede HAL for Rs 30000 crore contract? And 3. Why no answer on Rs 41,000 crore loss in #RafaleScam?”

In his blog, Jaitley has claimed that he didn’t get replies to the Rafale questions he raised in his August 29 blog. “In mature democracies those who rely on falsehood are considered unfit for public life. Many have been banished from political activity because they were caught lying. But this rule obviously can’t apply to a dynastic organisation like the Congress Party,” he writes.

He stresses that “if the ‘Rafale concoctions’ were the first big lie, the second one stated repeatedly is that Mr. Modi waived off rupees two lakh fifty thousand crores of fifteen industrialists,” claiming that every word of that sentence repeatedly uttered by Rahul Gandhi is false.

Jaitley says these amounts were lent by the banks prior to 2014 and the UPA government kept rolling over the loans to conceal them despite the default. “Today, the UPA leaders state that when they went out of Government, the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) were only Rs.2.5 lakh crores. The truth is that actually NPAs were hidden under the carpet. In 2015, an asset quality review was conducted by the Reserve Bank of India and as a result of AQR and subsequent transparent recognition by banks it was found that the NPAs were actually Rs.8.96 lakh crores and the real amount was being hidden.”

Moreover, he goes on to note that no effective steps were taken which could result in recovery/ reduction of the NPAs.

“Post 2014-15, NPAs increased not because more monies were lent but because interest was mounting up on the overdue amounts…… An account is a ‘performing account’ as long as the debt is being serviced by principal/ interest being paid. The moment a debtor is unable to service the debt, a default occurs and on expiry of 90 days an account is declared a Non-Performing Asset. During the UPA, most of these accounts were not declared as NPAs.”

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