Repeating his pre-poll statements, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, on Sunday, alleged that Union Minister Rajnath Singh had gone to France out of guilt while addressing a rally in Mumbai's Chandivali ahead of state polls. He alleged that the then-Defence Minister had written about PMO's interference in the deal. He claimed that Rajnath Singh had travelled to France out of guilt. He alleged that the country knew of the theft in Rafale deal.
"The whole country knows that theft had occurred in the Rafale deal. (Then) Defence Minister had written clearly that Prime Minister is interfering in Rafale deal. Hence there some guilt left, as Rafale name hurts. Hence Rajnath Singh ji went to France," he said.
He added, "Have you ever seen the Defence Minister goes to France to receive Rafale jet in full pomp? Have you ever heard this before? No. This is because it hurts. They know that they have stolen. They have guilt, so they must do this. But no one can run away from the truth. Neither Narendra Modi nor Amit Shah nor BJP. The truth will catch them."
Meanwhile, former Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday slammed the Shastra Puja performed by the Defence Minister, calling it a farce. He said it was done to emotionally move people. Pointing out that the deal has been in the works for 25 years, he said India had still not received the jet. He also slammed the BJP of sending the Defence Minister for the handing over rather than sending Defence Marshalls which is the norm.
"There was no need to create such a spectacle with respect to Rafale. When we purchase any gun -be it Bofors, or MiG and noe Rafale. Nobody brought it by going there and creating a spectacle. The Defence Marshalls or commanders, they usually check whether it is good or bad. These people (BJP) have gone there and why? Delivery is still six months away. This is all done for an emotional show to the people. This deal has been in the works for 25 years. When we (UPA) were buying it cheap, thy (BJP) had protested against it," he said to ANI.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh went to France for the handing over ceremony of IAF's first Rafale jet. After officially being handed over, the Defence Minister performed a Shastra puja at the Merignac air base in France. Visuals showed the Defence Minister marking the aircraft with the auspicious symbol - 'Aum' with vermillion. After the ceremony, Singha also undertook a35-minute sortie in the flight. He announced that the first seven jets are expected to be delivered in 2020.
Maharashtra which has 288 Assembly seats will go to polls in 21 October 2019. Maharashtra assembly elections will be held in a single-phase and the counting procedure would be conducted on October 24. Shiv Sena will contest for polls from 124 constituencies, the BJP will contest from 150 and its allies will contest from 14 constituencies. Meanwhile, Congress in alliance with Sharad Pawar's NCP, have decided to contest 125 seats each in the 288-member assembly, leaving the remaining 38 seats for its allies. Currently, the BJP holds 122 seats while the Shiv Sena holds 63 seats and the Opposition held by UPA has 42 seats.