Parliament Latest updates: “There is a difference between defence dealings and dealing in defence. We don’t do defence dealings. We deal in defence with national security as a priority,” Sitharaman said.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman began her speech by thanking the members who participated in the debate. However, soon the debate turned vitriolic as Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia and other leaders stood up to demand that the prime minister should respond to their questions not the defence minister. Sitaraman, visibly irked at this, said, “Please have the patience to appreciate that it is my chance to speak and I shall offer you point by point rebuttal. This shows Congress party is afraid of facts.

BJP speakers adopted aggressive stance to defend the government on the Rafale deal. While BJP MP Anurag Thakur’s speech was rife with references to jeep scam, Bofors and National Herald case, party’s Nishikant Dubey drew anomalies with ‘controversial’ business dealings Robert Vadra and Sanjay Bhandari with Modi’s ‘untainted’ public record to defend the government on the Rafale issue.

“Congress requested for a debate, and we complied. But they took more than 20 days to prepare for the debate but still they brought forward a confused and corrupt leader to lead the discussion. It was a confused and a corrupt leader, who is out on bail. Woh 20 minute mein 20 jhooth bol kar chale gaye,” Anurag Thakure said.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi Friday said if his party comes to power in 2019, a criminal investigation will be launched into the Rafale deal and the accused will be punished. Speaking to the media outside Parliament ahead of the government’s reply, he urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to answer the questions raised by the Congress on the multi-million dollar fighter jet deal.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the government misguided Supreme Court on CAG report and the Public Accounts Committee. He said that no report on pricing was ever tabled before PAC or CAG. “They lied to the Supreme Court,” Kharge said.

The Parliament saw a stormy session in Lok Sabha as procurement of Rafale fighter jets and Sabarimala protests dominated the debate in the lower House. Expect more ruckus and noisy interruptions post lunch when Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is due to respond to the allegations made by the Congress party on procurement of Rafale fight jers.

In today’s agenda, Bills for consideration and passing include, The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2018, The Aadhaar and other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018, The New Delhi International Arbitration Bill, 2018, The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017, and The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018,

The Lok Sabha will also discuss issues relating to Rafale deal, natural calamities in various parts of the country, particularly Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha and the Sabarimala protests.

Meanwhile in Rajya Sabha, members will Private Members’ Business will be discussed on matters relating to triple talaq, Rafale and the urban and housing development.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 04, 2019 14:41 PM