Taking a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for criticising him for performing a shastra puja of the first Rafale fighter jet plane in France, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said Rahul could try and suggest if he has an alternative to the age-old tradition.
“Vijaydashmi par shastra puja ki parampara hai. Jab maine Rafale plane par Om likha toh logon ne kaha ki Om kyun likha. Main Rahul ji se poochna chahta hun ki shastra pooja mein Om nahi likhta toh kya likhta (There is a tradition of weapon worship during Dussehra. When I wrote Om on the Rafale plane, people started asking questions. I would like to ask Rahul ji, if not Om what else should I have written on the plane during shastra puja),” the defence minister said at a rally in Haryana on Thursday (October 17).
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The defence minister had elicited stinging criticism from political circles, after he on October 8 performed a shastra puja on the occasion of Vijaydashami after the handover of 36 Rafale fighter jets to India in Paris.
Among his critics were NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Mallikarjun Kharge, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Gandhi had said that Singh went to receive the jets from Paris due to “guilt” in the minds of the BJP over the multi-crore deal.
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While Kharge called it “theatrics” Owaisi said, “he (Singh) keeps lemon for prayers while we use it to make Shorbat and serve it to people.”
“ …We are getting a new fighter aircraft which is much stronger. But before using it, we have to do puja. So, I wrote Om on the fighter plane. But Congress leaders started a controversy. You are objecting to the word Om? Don’t we say or write Om in our homes? Don’t Christians say Amen? Don’t Muslims say Ameen,” Singh had said at an election rally in Karnal district of Haryana which goes to polls on October 21.