Kharge dubs Rajnath Singh's 'Shastra Puja' after receiving Rafale as "tamasha", "show off"
New Delhi, Oct 09: Senior Congress leader and former leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge lashed out at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for going to France to receive the delivery of first Rafale fighter and performing a 'Shastra Pooja'. Kharge said that what Home Minister did in France was a "tamasha" (Drama) and such things had never happened before when Congress was in power.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday received first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets at Dassault's facility in Mérignac near Bordeaux, France. The minister performed a brief Shastra Puja (a custom followed during Dussehra) on the new aircraft as he emblazoned it with an 'Om' tilak and laid flowers and a coconut.
"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," Kharge was quoted as saying by ANI.
"Our Air Force officers judge whether they are good or not. These people go, show off, sit inside (the aircraft)," he added.
Singh took a sortie in the brand new Dassault made fighter aircraft. He was flown by Philippe Duchateau, head test pilot of Dassault Aviation. Singh sat in the rear cockpit while the French pilot flew the customised Rafale fighter jet with tail number RB-01.
The minister was accompanied by Armed Forces personnel including Air Marshall Harjit Singh Arora. Representatives of the top military brass from the French side were also present on the occasion.
India and France had inked a deal in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 jets at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore.
The Rafale jets have been made with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.