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Questions on delay in process of Rafale acquisition remain unanswered: Cong

Questions on delay in process of Rafale acquisition remain unanswered: Cong

New Delhi, Oct 9 (UNI) Amid a war of words between the Congress and BJP on the ‘Shastra Puja’ by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Rafale aircraft, which was handed over to France on Tuesday, the Congress on Wednesday said that questions still persist on the delay in the acquisition of the aircraft by the Narendra modi government at the Centre.

Talking to reporters here, AICC Spokesperson Pawan Khera said, 'The issue about Rafale is not about it's capability. We know it is the best aircraft, which is why we pushed for it.

'It was the NDA, which scrapped the deal reached during the UPA rule, delaying the acquisition of the aircraft by India. If we had stuck to the schedule, we would have had the Rafale aircraft long ago. These are serious questions. You owe an answer to the people,' he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Congress leaders Sandeep Dikshit and Alka Lamba, reacting to the ‘Shastra Puja’ on the Rafale aircraft, had accused the BJP-led dispensation of saffronising the Rafale handover in France.

Reacting to the Shastra Puja, former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, "We did not do this with Bofors. There is no need to do such tamasha.'

Speaking on the issue, Congress leader Sandeep Sikshit said, 'This is the whole problem with this government. They dramatise everything, without any substantive work. This religious context of Vijayadashami and the Rafale aircraft does not match. A festival that all of us celebrate, why should it be linked it with an aircraft?"

Ms Lamba, a former Aam Aadmi Party legislator and now an INC leader, tweeted in Hindi, "Imagine, what would have happened if former Defence Minister AK Antony would have been the Minister of Defence or former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had this fortune today and had they taken the Bible or Quran as per their religion like Rajnath Singh?"

Reacting to the Congress statements, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Prakash Jawadekar said, 'Now, what should I say what Congress is saying on this..."

Talking to reporters during a post-Cabinet meet briefing, Mr Javadekar said, 'This party has lost its way.'

Defence Minister Singh, who received the first unit of Indian Air Force's Rafale fighter jet from France on Tuesday at Merignac, had performed a 'Shastra puja' on it.’’

He also emblazoned it with the Sanskrit icon 'Om,' which has spiritual significance in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

'Om' stands for a good beginning, imperishable and divine energy, he added.

UNI AR RJ 2336

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