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Only 5 people knew about Balakot airstrike, must book those who leaked info — Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi says 'passing of' information on Balakot airstrike is a 'criminal act', and the person who gave the information and the one who got it should both be booked.

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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Tuesday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top leaders in the government, saying only they had information about the 2019 Balakot airstrike that was purportedly passed on to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.

Calling the alleged passing on of the information a “criminal act”, Gandhi said both the sender as well as the receiver of the information need to be booked.

Addressing a press conference at the party’s headquarters at 24, Akbar road, the Congress leader said, “Only 4-5 people knew about the airstrike — the PM, the defence minister, the home minister, air chief staff and NSA. One of these people gave the information to Arnab Goswami.

“This is a criminal act, and the person who gave this information as well the person who got this information, both need to be booked,” he added.

The Congress leader’s remarks come days after Goswami’s purported WhatsApp chats from February 2019 with former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) chief executive Partho Dasgupta created a storm after they went viral.

The chats are a part of Mumbai Police’s charge sheet, submitted before a court, in a case pertaining to alleged manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRPs) by news channels, including Republic TV. Among other things, the chats purportedly show Goswami having prior knowledge of major government decisions such as the Balakot airstrikes.

Gandhi also said that an inquiry should take place to ascertain who was responsible, claiming that “it must have been the PM”.

“It will need to be inquired who gave this information. But the inquiry process will not be started. I will tell you why. Because the PM must have given this information. Only five people knew about this, one of them gave it. It’s crystal clear,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi also said he found something very “distressing” about the chats.

“Someone saying this is going to be very good for us when our CRPF boys are killed… This is anti-national,” Gandhi said. He was referring to the purported conversation, where Dasgupta said that the airstrike will be good for the polls.

Also read: ‘NSA, PMO hooked to Republic’ — Arnab Goswami ‘WhatsApp chats’ give TRP scandal new twist

On farm laws

Speaking on the Centre’s new farm laws, Gandhi said the laws will not only hurt farmers, but also the middle class.

“This is not about the present. This is about what’s happening to your future and this country’s ability to be economically strong and this country’s ability to give you a job, this country’s ability to stand tall among other nations,” Gandhi said.

He further said that only 3-4 “crony capitalists” own the country, and will soon capture the agriculture industry too.

“Agriculture is the last standing bastion protected from monopoly, which is now going to be hit. 3-4 businessmen will be able to store millions of commodities now. And my friends in the middle class, you will be paying prices you would’ve never imagined,” he said.

“Please know that the rice that comes to you at the price it does is because of the APMC. This is not just an assault on farmers but on the middle class,” Gandhi added.

Hitting back at Gandhi, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Congress doesn’t want a solution to the farmers’ issue. “The Congress organised a press conference today because it doesn’t want a solution to the problem of the farmers’ situation in the 10th round of discussions set to happen tomorrow. This is exactly why Rahul Gandhi did a press conference today.

“Why are the farmers poor after seven decades? It is only because of Congress rule, who kept delaying the Swaminathan Committee guidelines,” he said.

‘PM endorsed Trump’

On being asked about violence at the Capitol Hill by mob of outgoing US President Donald Trump’s supporters earlier this month, Gandhi said it was PM Modi who endorsed Trump.

“I remember the PM saying ‘Abki baar Trump Sarkar’. As the PM of the country, you can’t do something like that. Because you are disrespecting the people of the US. It’s their decision…this shows his lack of understanding,” Gandhi said.

PM Modi had, in September 2019, cheered for Trump — endorsing his re-election during the former’s visit to the US for the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event.

‘Nadda not my professor’

Gandhi also said he would not like to respond to the series of ‘questions’ directed at him by BJP president J.P. Nadda since the latter “isn’t my professor”.

“He is not my professor that I will keep answering his questions…the farmers know I was standing with them in Bhatta Parsaul, I was standing with them during land acquisition protests,” Gandhi added. He also said that Congress has spoken about farm ‘reforms’ but destroying agriculture.



Nadda had raised questions over the Congress’ 2019 election manifesto which talked about repealing the APMC Act, and also the party’s stance on Jallikattu.

On Gandhi’s ‘professor’ comment, Javadekar said the Congress leader should “admit his failure”.

“BJP is the most prominent party in the country and its chief asked questions to Rahul Gandhi. But Rahul Gandhi ran away. If you don’t know the answer to the questions, then you should admit your failure,” he said.

“Why does he not answer on China? Who gave away land to China? Under whose rule did Aksai Chin go out of India’s hands? Who took money from China for a private trust? Who gave away India’s UNSC permanent seat to China? There are several questions, but Congress will keep running,” Javadekar said.

Also read: The problem Rahul Gandhi has created for Amarinder Singh in Punjab by backing farmer protests


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  1. Thank you Rahul sir for returning, we missed you.
    Arnab said something big is going to happen in his chat, and so did PM in a public rally before Balakot.
    Both should be booked once you become the PM.
    We have no problem waiting for 2024 or 3024, it doesn’t matter.

  2. What about Barkha Dutt, who revealed the location of the NSG personnel to the Paki handlers of terrorists in 26/ 11, or the locations of our faujis in Kargil, getting many of them killed, for no fault if their own. Pappu, who you blindly support Shekhar Gupta, is a moron not fit to be a lowly peon.

  3. What a waste of time and resources on writing an article on out-bursts of a pappu . If any of the so-called journalists or media outfit comes out with an article espousing his view , it sheds a light on their caliber also. His statements are never taken seriously by the voters of India. Is that not clear to contributors to ThePrint ?? Mr .Gupta , you may lose a big chunk of readers if portal is kept on allowing to be used as a propaganda portal by erst-while dynasty. however , you may start a humor or Gapshap section to keep posting this type of material churned out by dynasty worshipers.

  4. I think that Fatima Khan did a programme that showed that Shri Rahul Gandhi did not return to Bhatta Parasaul after his dramatic entry there. However his stay in politics is important for Shri Narendra Modi’s stay as PM. The stark contrast helps the PM.

  5. Opposition has a very important role in every democratic setup. The opposition needs to be responsible, and must present an alternative vision, narrative, policies and leadership to the electorate to choose from.
    Unfortunately, the principal opposition in India seems to flunk the first test of responsibility and on many occasions appears to
    mimic the narrative of the enemies of this nation. The leadership is in perpetual flux and appears to thrust leader’s role on a reluctant Mr Gandhi.
    This gifts the ruling regime to operate in a TINA shield and irrespective of the merits of our current ruling dispensation, it is not good for the future of a healthy democracy.

  6. Fake news again. BJP and Modi had already said in advance that India will strike Pakistan hard to punish them for Pulwama. It was no secret,. it is just that it came as surprise to the spineless UPA/CONgress and sold out media close to them including Shekhar Gupta’s The Print. All the BHAKTS knew it, they were sure, Modi will deliver on his promise to hit back at Pakistan, which he did. There are NO SURPRISES here really. MODI NE KEH KE LI.

  7. The tragedy of India is our political discourse ….. instead of an informed debate on the problems facing us, we get this mudslinging, one party / leader or their sidekicks calling the other names. All are alike, equally useless. It’s either shrill denouncement or a sycophancy, never any sense with real intent to solve anything. The country’s political leaders must think we the public are morons, so they can treat us with such selfish disregard and contempt …. either they or they themselves are self-centered people with very poor competence.

  8. Information about the 2019 Balakot airstrike that was purportedly passed on…
    What does it mean ?
    Information can also be passed on as part of the information warfare.

  9. CONGRASS is busy protecting human rights activists such as MUKHTAR ANSARI.

    A operation which was criticised as fake more vehemently than pakistani ISI controlled media is now been accepted only to attack a stupid news anchor.

    THE competition to gain SECULAR VOTES in West BENGAL will become more intense and attacks on pro HINDU activist will be sharpened.

    With so many parties showing interest in SECULAR VOTES it’s clear that their POPULATION is increasing at a pace which be detrimental to INDIA’s meagre resources and democracy.

    Government should implement POPULATION CONTROL MEASURES with strictness to avoid subversion of democracy by change in demography.

  10. Please don’t blame the innocent Pappu – he is a “really nice guy” doing his job – he is only saying what his Chinese/Paki handlers have told him to say.

  11. Which Balakot strike? As per Rahul that strike never took place. Moreover, no part of chat log (the snapshot itself is not proven to be genuine) mentioned that there will be a Strike. Even Pak defence ministry commented that Nothing in the chat is exploding, a Strike before elections was imminent. About CRPF context, RaGa should take English language tutions. He is mixing past tense and future tense. Last but not least, his comments have no value in given political situation of India. He is branded and will remain branded.

  12. During WW II, trains in Britain had signs that read, Careless talk costs lives. Shri Arnab Goswami has been catastrophically stupid.

  13. Sometime back Rahul was telling that Balakot operation did not take place. He was asking proof of the operation.
    Why does he now want to book people on an operation that did not take place in the first place?

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