Congress leader Udit Raj on Wednesday took a dig at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for performing 'Shastra Puja' after receiving the first Rafale fighter jet in France and said that India will be able to build such aircraft when "superstitions" end.
Singh performed Shastra Puja (worship of weapons) on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra after receiving the first of the 36 Rafale jets in the French port city of Bordeaux on Tuesday. Videos from the Dassault Aviation facility in France' Merignac show Singh writing an "Om" on the jet and laying flowers and a coconut on it and placing lemons before it - rituals for an auspicious stare and to ward off the evil eye.
Raj, a former BJP minister, took a dig at the same in a Hindi post on Twitter which roughly translates to, "The Rafale jet belongs to France. While being inducted into the Air Force, it was protected with nimbu-nariyal (lemon-coconut). What would the world be thinking? Due to this superstition, such fighter aircraft have to be bought from outside. The day superstition ends, we will build it ourselves."
Disgruntled over not being given a ticket in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Raj had switched sides and joined the Congress. He was a sitting lawmaker from the North West Delhi seat but the BJP, instead of naming Raj, named Hans Raj Hans as the candidate who retained the seat for the party.
In April 2019, Raj joined the Congress and soon after also expressed disappointment with the BJP.
"If I don't like the Congress policy for Dalit and women then I will oppose them too. I am not a selfish person. Rahul Gandhi told me three-four times in Parliament that you are in the wrong party. He said to me that your heart is not for the BJP. Of course, he loves me and I will work with him. I waited for the last three years but Amit Shah did not give me time," he had said at that time.
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