New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday hit out at Congress leaders for questioning his ‘shastra puja’ on the first Rafale jet. Addressing a poll rally in Haryana’s Karnal, Singh claimed that statements by Congress leaders have strengthened Pakistan.

” I wrote ‘Om’ on fighter plane (Rafale), and tied a ‘raksha bandhan’ to it. Congress leaders started a controversy here…They should’ve welcomed that Rafale is coming here. Instead,they started criticising. Statements by Congress leaders only strengthen Pakistan,” ANI quoted the Defence Minister as saying.

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Notably, Rajnath was slammed by several Opposition leaders for placing lemons under the wheels of the Rafale jet and drawing ‘om’ on it.  “Performed Shastra Puja on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami. Worshipping weapons on Vijayadashami has been our tradition,” he had tweeted after performing rituals.

Earlier also Rajnath had defended his act saying he did what he thought was appropriate. “This is our faith that there is a superpower and I have believed it since childhood. I feel there must have been a division over the issue in Congress too, it must not have been everybody’s opinion”, the Defence Minister had said earlier.

Meanwhile, referring to the Balakot strike, Rajnath mounted attack on the previous Congress-led UPA government and said, “If we had Rafale fighter aircraft with us, then I think we need not have gone to Pakistan for Balakot airstrike. We could have eliminated terror camps there, even while sitting in India.”