In yet another massive self-goal scored by Congress party, senior Congress leader and former Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha – Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday called the ‘Shastra Puja’ as a ‘tamasha’ and attacked Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for performing it as he received the first Rafale aircraft on the day of Vijayadashami.
Mallikarjun Khage, Congress on Defence Minister officially receiving Rafale aircraft in France & performing ‘Shastra Puja’: There is no need to do such ‘tamasha’ (drama). When we bought weapons-like the Bofors gun previously purchased, no one went & brought them while showing off pic.twitter.com/ITM0IpSMw6
— ANI (@ANI) October 9, 2019
Calling Shastra Puja as a ‘tamasha’, Kharge further said that the previous Congress government bought weapons like the Bofors guns, but no one went and brought them by showing off. In a hurry to attack the Modi government, Kharge recalled the Bofors scam to compare it with the Rafale deal.
“Our Air Force officers judge whether they are good or not. These people go, show off, sit inside (the aircraft),” said Kharge.
Interestingly, while the quality of Bofors and Rafale have never been questioned, Kharge also indirectly hinted that the quality of the Rafale will be judged by the Air Force. Kharge seems to forget that the IAF had wanted to Rafale even during the Congress tenure but the Congress had asserted that they had no money to buy the jets. In fact, there was also speculation that the Congress party had not purchased the Rafale because they wanted to buy the Eurofighter. Christian Michel, Congress era middleman in the Agusta Westland case was also a middleman for Eurofighter as was Defence Dalal Sanjay Bhandari who has close links with Robert Vadra.
The controversial Bofors deal, which is known to be the first inter-continent defence scam had linked former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. There were exclusive investigative reports that had questioned Sonia Gandhi’s Italian family involvement in the Bofors scam. OpIndia had earlier accessed evidence to show that Sonia Gandhi’s Italian family could have been involved in the Bofors scandal, with their names carefully hidden from the public eye.
The Bofors deal for 155 mm field howitzers which Kharge referenced became a big scandal during the erstwhile Rajiv Gandhi government, with senior government functionaries accused of taking kickbacks in exchange of approving the deal.
Since yesterday, the Congress party has been continuously attacking the Modi government after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performed the Shastra Puja on Rafale aircraft and wrote ‘Om’ on it. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had visited France to receive the first unit of Indian Air Force’s Rafale fighter jet from France which also coincided with Vijayadashami and also Indian Airforce day.
Shashtra puja, the weapons’ worship as part of Dussehra celebrations, came under attack from the Opposition parties especially the Congress party. Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit accused the Narendra Modi government of saffronising the Rafale handover. “This religious context of Vijayadashami and the Rafale aircraft doesn’t match. A festival that all of us celebrate, why should it be linked with an aircraft?” said Sandeep Dikshit courting a controversy.
Former AAP leader Alka Lamba, who recently joined the Congress brought in communal references to attack Modi government for performing Shastra Puja. “If former Defence Minister AK Antony would have been the Minister of Defence or former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had this fortune today, what would have happened had taken Bible and Quran as per their religion like Rajnath Singh?” Alka Lamba wrote on Twitter.
Alka Lamba went on to mock Rajnath Singh as she tweeted a photo of lemons placed under the wheels of the jet. “France made Rafale has not even reached India and India has already achieved its first major success by squashing two green lemons and saved the country from the eyes of the evil.”
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has hit back at Congress party after they criticised Rafale Shastra Puja performed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Home Minister Shah said that the sole purpose of Congress was to oppose the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and stated that the puja was performed by the Defence Minister as per Indian traditions.
“Congress did not like it. Is Shastra puja not performed on Vijayadashami? They should ponder over what needs to be criticised and what not,” Amit Shah said a rally in Haryana on Wednesday.