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Yavatmal: NCP Chief Sharad Pawar mocked the "Shashtra Puja" of Rafale aircraft performed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh using lemon and chilli and drew a parallel between the union minister and truck drivers, who hang it on their new trucks believing it protects vehicle from evil eye.

"I have no doubts about the decision taken for national security. But I have read, I don't know if it is true, but what can one say when lemon-chilli is hung on Rafale aircraft with the idea of protecting it from curse just like it's hung on a newly-purchased truck," said Sharad Pawar while addressing a press conference here on Thursday.

Singh on October 8, received the first of the 36 French-built Rafale fighter jet in the French port city of Bordeaux and performed 'Shastra Puja' on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami. The ceremony coincided with the foundation ceremony of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Singh performed Shastra Puja (worship of weapons) after receiving the first of the 36 Rafale jets in the French port city of Bordeaux on Tuesday.

Rajnath had emblazoned the Rafale aircraft with an 'Om' and laid flowers, coconut and lemons to ward off the evil eye.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had on Wednesday termed the acceptance ceremony and 'Shastra Puja' of Rafale fighter jet in France as 'tamasha' (drama).

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. 
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