Cong emboldening Pak with its statements: Rajnath Singh

Last Updated 19 October 2019, 14:19 IST

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday slammed the Congress for criticising him over Shastra Puja of Rafale aircraft and said the opposition party was only emboldening Pakistan by such statements.

He also questioned why the Congress has an "objection" to writing the word 'Om' on the aircraft and noted that when he was performing 'puja' in France, people of various faiths were present there including Muslims, Christians and Sikhs who were all "cooperating" during the ceremony.

He said the Congress should have been happy that the country is gaining strength but it could not do so as its "intentions were wrong".

Addressing an election rally in Karnal, the BJP leader said the Congress should be taught a "befitting lesson in these assembly polls, like in Lok Sabha elections”.

“I come from an ordinary background. I said we are getting a powerful plane to fight. Before we use it, we should perform a 'puja'.

"I wrote Om (tilak) on it (the aircraft), broke a coconut (as per tradition), tied a 'raksha bandhan' around the plane. But Congress raked up a controversy, saying we have become communal. They have an objection to even 'Om' being written,” Singh said.

Haryana goes to polls on October 21 and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has set a target to win over 75 of the 90 Assembly seats. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is contesting again from Karnal.

"I want to ask is 'Om' not written in your homes. Sikh brethren sitting here, I want to ask do they not chant Ek Onkar. "Do our Christians not say Amen, do our Muslim brothers not say Amen... Questions are being raised on this. When I was performing 'puja' there, there were people of various faiths present there including Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs. All of them were cooperating," he said. "Congress should have welcomed that we are getting this fighter plane, but they started criticism. They keep speaking without paying heed... And if anyone gets emboldened with their statements, it is Pakistan. That is why I am saying they should be taught a befitting lesson in these assembly polls like you did in Lok Sabha elections,” he told the gathering.

The Congress and the BJP have been engaged in a war of words over Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visiting France to receive the first Rafale fighter jet and performing Shastra Puja on the aircraft, with opposition party leaders terming it as "drama”. At a ceremony in Merignac France on Tuesday, Singh formally took delivery of the first of the 36 long-awaited French-made aircraft acquired by the Indian Air Force.

He performed puja on the new aircraft as he emblazoned it with an 'Om' tilak and laid flowers and coconut, just before he took a sortie in the two-seater jet. The Opposition party accused the BJP of politicising a defence acquisition.

(Published 13 October 2019, 14:57 IST)

Follow us on