Hours after senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge questioned Shastra Puja by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after he took the delivery of first Rafale fighter jet in France, his party colleague Sanjay Nirupam has come out in support of the puja calling it part of India’s tradition. "Shastra puja cannot be called a tamasha. There has been an old tradition of ‘shastra puja’ in our country. The problem is that Kharge Ji is an atheist. In the Congress party, not everyone is an atheist", he was quoted, as saying by ANI.
Earlier in the day, Kharge, who was the party in leader in the previous Lok Sabha slammed the puja performed by Rajnath Singh at the Rafale’s handing over ceremony. "There is no need to do such 'tamasha' (drama). When we bought weapons-like the Bofors gun previously purchased, no one went and brought them while showing off," he said. Rajnath Singh put an ‘Om’ tilak and laid flowers and cocunut on the brand new jet before he took off for a sortie on Tuesday.
"By February 2021, we will get delivery of 18 Rafale aircraft and by April-May 2022 we will get all 36 aircraft. This is a part of our self-defense and not a sign of aggression against anyone. It is a deterrent," Rajnath Singh was quoted, as saying by Indian Express.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah hit back at Kharge asking whether 'Shashtra Pujan' not performed on Vijayadashami.
"Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performed 'Shastra Pujan' of Rafale yesterday in France. Congress did not like it. Is 'Shashtra Pujan' not performed on Vijayadashami? They should ponder over what needs to be criticised and what not," Amit Shah said addressing an election rally in Haryana’s Kaithal.