Karnal: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday chided the Congress over their criticism of the shashtra puja after the former received the first Rafale fighter jet in France, saying that such statements "only strengthens" Pakistan.
"...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 and tied a 'raksha bandhan' to it. But, Congress leaders started a controversy here. You are objecting to the word 'Om'? Don't we say or write 'Om' in our homes?" he said while addressing a public rally here.
"Don't Christians say 'Amen'? Don't Muslims say 'Ameen'? You (Congress) are raising questions on this? They should have welcomed that Rafale is coming to India. Instead, they started criticising. Statements by Congress leaders only strengthen Pakistan," Rajnath said.
Continuing his tirade, the Defence Minister urged the people to give a "befitting reply" to the Congress in the ensuing Assembly elections in Haryana. "You should give a befitting reply to them in the Assembly elections like how you had given during the Lok Sabha polls," Rajnath said.
During his visit to France earlier this week, Rajnath had emblazoned the Rafale aircraft with an 'Om' and laid flowers, coconut and lemons to ward off the evil eye.
The first of the 36 French-built Rafale fighter jet bearing the tail number RB-001 was formally handed over to India on Tuesday. The ceremony coincided with the foundation ceremony of the IAF.
Rajnath received flak from the Opposition with Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge described Singh performing shashtra Puja as "tamasha" (drama). Party leader Udit Raj also raised objections to it saying that the day "superstition" ends, India will make such fighter aircraft itself.
Referring to the Balakot air raid, Rajnath said that there was no need of going to Pakistan for the airstrike on the JeM terror camp had the country possessed the Rafale jet.
"If we had Rafale fighter aircraft with us, then I think we need not have gone to Pakistan for Balakot airstrike. We could have eliminated terror camps there, even while sitting in India," he remarked.
Asking the people to re-elect the BJP to power in the state, the Defence Minister took a jibe at Congress and INLD saying that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar ran the government in the last five years by working from the grass-root level.
"I can say that unlike the previous Chief Ministers of Haryana - be it from Congress or from INLD who used to run their governments from Delhi and not from Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar runs the government by working from the grass-root level," Rajnath said.
Assembly elections are due to be held in the state on 21 October. Counting of votes will take place on 24 October.
'Statements by Congress leaders only strengthen Pakistan': Rajnath Singh defends shastra puja of Rafale jet, slams Opposition
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Updated Date: Oct 15, 2019 12:45:54 IST