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Last Updated : Oct 10, 2019 05:02 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Rajnath Singh's Rafale 'Shastra Puja': Congress' Sanjay Nirupam slams fellow leader Mallikarjun Kharge over remark

The fiasco started on October 8, when Rajnath Singh performed a Hindu ritual on the hi-tech aircraft while it was being ceremonially handed over to India

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Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has taken a dig at party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge for dubbing the Shastra Puja performed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as “tamasha” (gimmick).

When the Defence Minister had performed a pooja to mark the auspicious occasion of Vijaya Dashami, when the first Rafale fighter jet was procured, Kharge had snubbed the act and called it unnecessary theatrics.

Now, though Kharge and Nirupam have not been in the best of terms, it is not likely that the former would have expected a fellow party member to take a dig at him like that.

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The fiasco started on October 8, when Rajnath Singh performed a Hindu ritual on the hi-tech aircraft while it was being ceremonially handed over to India in France.

In a video clip of the event, he could be seen performing the ritual, which involves worshipping weapons, and marking an “Om” insignia on the aircraft’s body before offering it flowers and a coconut.

He had tweeted the same from his official social media handle and captioned it: “Performed Shastra Puja on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami. Worshipping weapons on Vijayadashami has been our tradition.”

Kharge, who is the leader of the Congress party in the Lower House of Parliament, found it unnecessary, as per a report by NDTV.

He said: “There is no need to do such tamasha (drama). When we bought weapons like the Bofors gun in the past, no one showed them off like these guys are doing. Our Air Force officers judged whether they were good or not. These people go and show off by sitting inside (the aircraft).”

The Congress veteran was referring to the Defence Minister’s brief sortie in the Rafale jet during the handover ceremony. However, these words invited the criticism of Maharashtra Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam.

Dubbing Kharge an atheist, he said: “Shastra Puja cannot be called tamasha. Shastra Puja has always been a hallowed religious tradition in our country. The problem is that Khargeji is an atheist. But not everybody in the Congress party are atheists.”

Only days before these comments were passed, Nirupam had criticised the veteran politician for not allowing others to speak while presiding a meeting of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.

He tweeted: “Great leader Khargeji had called a meeting of the MRCC yesterday to formulate the election strategy. The meeting got over in 15 minutes, but did he let anybody speak? He himself spoke, repeatedly trying to ridicule me. Will such great strategists save or destroy the Congress with their mala fide intent?”

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First Published on Oct 10, 2019 05:02 pm
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