The Rafale controversy, on Friday, took a new turn when Hollande, who was the president of France from 2012 to 2017, reportedly said the Narendra Modi-led government proposed Anil Ambani's name for the deal.
The government had categorically denied the accusation saying it had no role to play in the choice of the French company's Indian partner. "We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor we were given", Hollande had said. "They should bring JPC, we will call Hollande also", Rahul said.
In an interview to a media house, T Suvarna Raju, former chairman and managing director (CMD) of HAL, claimed that Dassault and HAL had signed the mutual work-share contract and given it to the government.
Addressing a press conference at New Delhi on Saturday, Prasad slammed the 48-year-old Gandhi for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "thief".
"If these developments are true, the BJP could suffer a major political blow, especially with elections just around the corner", said Michael Kugelman, a senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. "Hollande's revelation undercuts the image that the BJP likes to project of itself as a squeaky-clean party".
Asked if the party will seek Modi's resignation, Gandhi said that ministers of the Modi government were speaking "lies" to protect the prime minister.
"It will not be desirable for me to disclose the exact details except to repeat what Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has stated - that the original cost of the fighter jet minus the weapons is 9 per cent lesser and with weapons is 20 per cent lesser than that was agreed during UPA", said Prasad.
Officials in India and France insist Dassault had freely chosen to partner with Reliance for the fighter jet order, despite Ambani having no previous experience in the field of aeronautics. "This is Dassault Aviation's choice".
Reliance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Another Congress spokesperson, Priyanka Chaturvedi, alleged that "Rafale Minister" and "Reliance Defence's Publicity Minister" colluded to throw HAL out of the deal and hand it over to their dear friend.
Rahul Gandhi further claimed that people in the central government are making false statements "one after the other" to save Prime Minister Modi as he was the one, who signed the contract.
"There is evidence that a proper MoU existed between Dassault and Reliance", he said.
The question of rafale deal was also raised by Rahul Gandhi during the no condifence motion against the BJP, which was passed by many parties, including TDP's Chandrababu Naidu over Andhra Pradesh special status. "Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt", he tweeted.
"The PM has betrayed India".
Gandhi also said that PM Modi dishonoured blood of our martyred soldiers. "The opposition's arguments are simply not holding the public's attention". However, analysts cautioned that the intricacies of complex defense deals may not resonate with voters more concerned about inflation and the rising price of fuel.