Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has called out Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge for calling the Rafale handover ceremony and 'Shastra puja' as 'tamasha'. He also accused the Congress party of forgetting Indian traditions.
"The urge to play politics in everything has pushed Congress leaders far away from our culture and traditions," Naqvi said.
During his visit to France, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had performed Shastra Puja on the Rafale aircraft, as the hand-over ceremony coincided with the 87th Air Force day celebrations and the festival of Vijaydashmi.
Reacting to the acceptance ceremony of Rafale, Congress leader Kharge said that his party did not show off when they bought weapons-like the Bofors gun. "These people go, show off, sit inside (the aircraft)," he said, referring to Rajnath Singh's sortie in the aircraft after performing the rituals.
In response to this, Naqvi said, "What problem do these people have if someone is promoting the Indian culture? Unfortunately, they did not see such a thing (during their tenure) and were busy in other things. They are worried now."
The first aircraft of the 36 French-built Rafale fighter jet with tail number RB-001 was handed over to India on October 8. The formal Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale aircraft procurement was signed between the Government of India and the Government of France on September 23, 2016.
Dassault Aviation CEO Éric Trappier received Rajnath Singh at the handover ceremony, where the Defence Minister performed the 'Shastra Puja' on the occasion of Dussehra, and ahead of his sortie in the fighter jet. India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. While the formal handover ceremony takes place this week, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India by May 2020.
(With inputs from ANI)