Mumbai: Disgruntled Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam on Wednesday called his senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge an atheist for dubbing Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh accepting Rafale fighter aircraft in France a "tamasha" (drama).
Speaking to ANI, Nirupam said that 'Shastra Puja' cannot be called a tamasha. "Shastra Puja' is an old tradition of our country. The problem is that Kharge ji is an atheist. In the Congress party, not everyone is an atheist," he said.
"Out of the entire population of the country, only 1 per cent population would be atheist. The opinion of the atheist cannot be imposed on the deist. At least it should not be imposed on Congress party," Nirupam added.
Clearing his stand in the whole matter, Nirupam tweeted, "I am supporting Shastra Puja not the BJP. Please do not read too much between the lines. Indian traditions and cultural heritage are far far bigger than any party or any individual." During his visit, Rajnath had emblazoned the Rafale aircraft with an 'Om' and laid flowers, coconut and lemons to ward off the evil eye.
The first of the 36 French-built Rafale fighter jet bearing the tail number RB-001 was formally handed over to India on Tuesday. The ceremony coincided with the foundation ceremony of the IAF.
The Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale aircraft procurement was signed between the Government of India and Government of France on September 23, 2016.