AMBIKAPUR (Chhattisgarh): Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday threw a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have a 15-minute debate with him over the Rafale fighter jet deal.

“I challenge the Prime Minister to come for a debate with me on the Rafale deal. Let him join me for a debate in a state of his choice, place of his choice, time of his choice; just for 15 minutes”, he told reporters at Ambikapur, the divisional headquarters of Surguja where he was on an election campaign.

“I will speak for just 15 minutes. He can also have 15 minutes. I will speak about HAL, Anil Ambani ji, French president’s statement and about the price of fighter jet and will ask whether proper procedures were followed”, he said adding that the Prime Minister will not be in a position to reply these questions.

“I know why he is not in a position to reply to such questions. CBI director was chucked out at two in the night. Why he was removed? What do you think? Now you are smiling”, he told a reporter, who asked about the Rafale jet deal.

Replying to a question on demonetisation, Rahul Gandhi reiterated that the note ban had ruined small businessmen and small industries. He alleged that the Prime Minister’s demonetisation decision was aimed at extending benefit to 10 to 15 major industrial groups in the country.

Referring to unemployment, the Congress president said Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh has been in power for the last 15 years and Prime Minister Modi has completed four and a half years in government at the centre and both the governments have failed to fulfil their promise to generate employment opportunities for the youth. “After Congress government comes to power, government job vacancies will be filled and it will also stop the practice of outsourcing of jobs, which is being done in BJP ruled Chhattisgarh”, he added.

Referring to farm distress under the BJP, Rahul Gandhi also reiterated his party’s poll promise to waive off agriculture loans of farmers within 10 days after formation of government and to clear the dues of paddy bonus, which has not been paid by the BJP government in Chhattisgarh for the last two years.