After receiving the first Rafale fighter jet from France, the Defence Minister had worshipped it with coconuts, garlands, and also made an ‘Om’ insignia with vermillion on it.
Hitting out at the Opposition for taunting him for performing ‘Shastra Puja’ (Weapon worship) in France, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh questioned what Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had expected him to write instead of ‘OM’.
After receiving the first Rafale fighter jet from France, the Defence Minister had worshipped it with coconuts, garlands, and also made an ‘Om’ insignia with vermillion on it. He had also gone for a 35-minute sortie at the handover ceremony.
He was taunted and mocked by several opposition leaders and trolled on social media following this. While Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had called the act “theatrics”, Nationalist Congress Party head Sharad Pawar had compared it with superstitious practices that involve hanging lemon and chilli to ward off “evil eye”.
Retorting to such jeers, Singh clarified on October 17 that there is nothing wrong with performing a traditional puja while receiving combat jets on an auspicious day. Further criticising them, he said: “When I wrote Om on the Rafale jet, people said why did he write it. I would like to ask Rahul Gandhi, if not Om, then what?”
The Union Minister was attending an election rally in Haryana ahead of the Assembly polls on October 21, when he made these comments.
Earlier this month, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said that the Defence Minister had to go in person to receive the first Rafale jet because the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders felt “guilt”. The Congress party has repeatedly cried foul over the Rs.59,000 crore deal in return of 36 Rafale fighter jets, made by Dassault Aviation, France.
Rahul had said: “It seems the Rafale deal is still hurting the BJP. Why else would Rajnath Singh go to France to receive the first jet.”
Both the saffron party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet have constantly denied all such allegations of corruption.(With PTI inputs)Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.