Bhiwani (Haryana) [India]: After facing backlash from the opposition over Rafale 'Shastra Puja' row, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi what he should have written on the fighter jet if not 'Om'.
Addressing an election rally here, Singh said, "Worshiping weapons during Vijayadashami is a tradition. When I wrote 'Om' on the Rafale jet, people said why I wrote it. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi if not 'Om', then what should I have written during 'Shastra Puja'?" During his visit to France earlier this week, Rajnath had emblazoned the Rafale fighter jet with an 'Om' and laid flowers, coconut and lemons, believed to ward off the evil eye. The ceremony coincided with the foundation ceremony of the IAF.
The Defence Minister even took a sortie in the Rafale jet. Singh received flak from the Opposition with Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge described him performing 'Shastra 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.
Assembly elections are due to be held in the state on October 21. Counting of votes will take place on October 24.