Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s speech during the Lok Sabha debate on the Opposition’s no-confidence motion was “embarrassing” and “ignorant”, Union minister Arun Jaitley has said.

“If a participant happens to be a President of a national political party nourishing Prime Ministerial aspirations, every word he speaks should be precious. His facts should convey credibility. Facts are always sacrosanct. None should ever trivialise the debate. Those who desire to be Prime Minister never blend ignorance, falsehood and acrobatics,” said Jaitley in a Facebook post on Saturday, commenting on Gandhi’s allegations against the Narendra Modi government.

“Regrettably, the President of the Congress Party missed a great opportunity. If this was his best argument for 2019, God help his party,” said Jaitley. “To hallucinate after an embarrassing performance that he has won future election or to hallucinate that he is the reincarnation of Mark Antony being complemented by friends and foes alike, may give him self-satisfaction but for serious observers it is more than just self-praise – in fact a serious problem.”

He said Gandhi’s allegations about India’s deal with France to buy Rafale fighter planes showed that he was “ignorant of facts”. Alleging corruption in the deal to purchase the planes, Gandhi had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi took away the contract to manufacture the planes from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and gave it to “one of his businessmen friends”.

Gandhi claimed that defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the government would reveal the price of the deal for purchase of Rafale, but later refused on the grounds that there was a secrecy agreement between India and France.

Jaitley rejected the allegations and accused Gandhi of “concocting” a conversation with France’s president Emmanuel Macron. He said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had entered a secrecy pact with France about the Rafale deal, but Gandhi was “wholly unaware” of it.

“…to insist on disclosure of financial details, which indirectly involves the disclosures of the strategic equipment on the aircraft, is to hurt national interest. Cost gives away a clue to the weaponry in the aircraft,” said Jaitley.