New Delhi: Hitting out at the Congress for its blistering attack on Shastra puja that Rajnath Singh performed during receiving the first Rafale fighter jet in France, the minister said worshipping weapons during Vijayadashami is a tradition.

Addressing a rally in Haryana, the minister said, “When I wrote Om on the Rafale jet, people aked the reason. I would like to ask Rahul Gandhi if not ‘om’, then what else should be written.”

Performing of the Shastra puja invited a lot of flak and started a heated political debate.

Shastra Puja — worshipping of weapons — is a traditional ritual observed on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami. Rajnath also wrote an ‘Om’ in Sanskrit on the body of aircraft. Lemon was also placed in front of the wheels — a practice to ward off the evil eye.

Calling the puja part a ‘tamasha’, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that several defence purchases were made during the Congress regime. But there was no show-off like the one Rajnath Singh apparently did. Taking a swipe at the Congress’s indignation at this ritual, Union home minister Amit Shah said at a Haryana rally that the Congress has no issue. “Is ‘Shastra Puja’ not performed on Vijayadashami? I want to tell them (the Congress) — ‘Think about what should be opposed and what not’,” he said.

Taking a cue from Mallikarjun Kharge’s Bofors mention, the BJP took a dig at the Congress and tweeted that since the Congress used to worship Quattrocchi, Shastra Puja must be a problem for them. Ottavio Quattrocchi was an Italian businessman who was being sought until early 2009 in India for criminal charges for acting as a middleman in the Bofors scandal.

During his election campaign in Mumbai, Rahul Gandhi raked up the Rafale issue as he said, “It seems the Rafale deal is still hurting the BJP…(If not) Why Rajnath Singh went to France to receive the first fighter jet?”