‘He’s just following customs’: Top Congress leader defends Rajnath Singh’s Rafale ‘Shastra Puja’

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Updated: October 10, 2019 4:29:21 PM

During the handover of the first of 36 Rafale jets on October 8, Rajnath Singh had performed 'Shastra Puja' on the brand new aircraft by writing 'Om' with vermillion before setting off for a sortie in the fighter jet.

Rafale, Rajnath Singh, Rafale Shastra Puja, Rafale news, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performing ‘Shastra Puja’ during Rafale handover ceremony. (Photo/PTI)

Rafale Shastra Puja controversy: Amid a raging debate over Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performing ‘Shastra Puja’ at the Rafale jet handover event in France, a top Congress leader steered away from his party’s stance to defend the ritual. Abhishek Manu Singhvi said Rajnath Singh was “just following customs”.

“Only two things are infinite, universe and exaggeration. Looking at this tweet, latter beats the former. Jokes aside l, if an Indian is performing a Pooja as per Indian customs, there is no need to deride it. Raksha Mantri is just following customs,” Singhvi said in a tweet while responding to a post mocking Rajnath Singh’s move.

During the handover of the first of 36 Rafale jets on October 8, Rajnath Singh had performed ‘Shastra Puja’ on the brand new aircraft by writing ‘Om’ with vermillion. He also put flowers and offered coconut during the ritual before setting off for a sortie in the fighter jet.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had described the puja as “tamasha” (drama) and said that the Congress did not “show off” when it purchased the Bofors gun.

“There is no need to do such “tamasha”. When we bought weapons like the Bofors gun previously purchased, no one went and brought them while showing off,” Kharge was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Union Home MInister and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah was quick to slam the Congress over Kharge’s remark. Addressing an election rally in Haryana’s Kaithal, Shah said Congress should know which issues to ridicule.

“Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performed ‘Shastra Puja’ in France yesterday as per Indian traditions and it seems the Congress does not like it. Is ‘Shastra Puja’ not performed on Vijayadashami?” Amit Shah said.

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