Rajnath Singh defends ‘shastra puja’ on Rafale jet: ‘Inscribing Om in no way communal’https://indianexpress.com/elections/rajnath-singh-defends-shastra-puja-on-rafale-jet-inscribing-om-in-no-way-communal-6069403/

Rajnath Singh defends ‘shastra puja’ on Rafale jet: ‘Inscribing Om in no way communal’

Endorsing Narendra Mehta, the sitting MLA and BJP candidate from Mira-Bhayandar, Singh said, “A man like him will forever be a sewak and not a shasak despite being in power.”

Rajnath Singh defends ‘shastra puja’ on Rafale jet: ‘Inscribing Om in no way communal’
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh campaigns for BJP candidate Vidya Thakur in Mumbai on Monday. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

After attracting criticism for performing a ‘shastra puja’ on the newly received Rafale fighter jet in France, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the ‘Om’ that he inscribed on the aircraft can in no way be construed as communal.

In Mumbai to endorse assembly election candidates of the BJP-Sena combine, Singh said, “I had gone to get the Rafale home on Vijayadashmi. At home, I would worship the tools and weapons. In Paris, I thought what would be a bigger weapon than the aircraft,” he explained. He then asked the crowd on Mira Road, “I am accused of spreading communalism. You tell me, did I commit a sin by praying?”

He said that those making an issue over ‘Om’ on the jet didn’t really understand it. “Don’t the Christians say Amen? Don’t the Muslims say Ameen? Don’t the Sikhs say Ek Onkar? They all come from Om. Om ye Brahmand ko paribhashit karta hai, ye anhad hai, iska koi ant nahi hai. Ye sarv vyapt hai,” he said.

Singh, who also addressed a political rally in Charkop, Kandivali (West), while endorsing state minister for urban development and incumbent MLA from Charkop Yogesh Sagar. He said that the opposition parties including the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party had resorted to ‘cheap gimmicks’ for political gains.

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“Making an internal issue like Kashmir an international issue is a cheap political gimmick by the Congress and NCP,” said Singh.

Endorsing Narendra Mehta, the sitting MLA and BJP candidate from Mira-Bhayandar, Singh said, “A man like him will forever be a sewak and not a shasak despite being in power.”

He said that the Congress and NCP were degrading by supersonic speed even as the government and people are progressing at supersonic speed. “The type of politics they practice is power hungry. I would much rather leave politics but will always want the country to grow. You tell me, should the Congress and NCP not be criticised for making Kashmir an international issue? If Xi, the Chinese premier, didn’t bring it up, why should we take our issue out of the country?” he said.

Rajnath Singh defends ‘shastra puja’ on Rafale jet: ‘Inscribing Om in no way communal’
Rajnath Singh was in Mumbai to endorse assembly election candidates of the BJP-Sena combine. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

Applauding the leadership qualities of PM Narendra Modi, Singh said, “You gave us the power for once, and we managed to change things in Kashmir. So many of our men had died there in the past. If only we had the Rafale aircraft earlier, we would have been able to defeat our enemies without even crossing our borders.” He added, “Be it Modi sarkar or Atalji’s time, no one ever dared to lay any corruption charges on us. Even then, without caring for the institution of his position, the opposition abuses Modi,” he said amidst chants of “Har Har Modi, Bharat Maata Ki Jai” and “Modiji Ki Jai”.

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Promising housing for all by 2022, Singh said, “Who would have thought that a PM would talk about toilets, but look how we have changed that. The late Rajiv Gandhi used to say that if one put Rs 100 into the system, only Rs 16 would reach the ground. With direct transfer of funding, we have ensured that the entire Rs 100 reaches the ground. Modi has made this possible.”

He also spoke about Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis saying that every vote to Mehta would help Fadnavis. “Long back when he was in Nagpur, I had known that Fadnavis will work wonders in Maharashtra politics,” he said.