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Chandrayaan-2 launch: Cong says 'good time' to remember Nehru, BJP hits back

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: July 22, 2019  | 23:02 IST

(Eds: Updating with Chidambaram's quote) New Delhi, Jul 22 (PTI) The Congress' attempt on Monday to claim credit for the successful launch of India's lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 by highlighting the role of its two prime ministers, including Jawaharlal Nehru, triggered a row with the BJP accusing the opposition party of politicising the event through its "demeaning" remarks. In its tweet, the Congress also mentioned former prime minister Manmohan Singh for sanctioning the Chandrayan2 project in 2008, evoking a sharp reaction from the ruling party spokesperson Sambit Patra, who said that there is a tendency to fall back on the past when there is "no future leadership" in view. Congratulating the ISRO for the successful launch, the Congress tweeted,"this is a good time to remember the visionary move of India's first PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to fund space research through INCOSPAR in 1962 which later became ISRO. And also Dr Manmohan Singh for sanctioning the Chandrayan-2 project in 2008." However, the BJP hit back accusing the Congress of drawing the issue into political arena. "This is really demeaning.. It's a proud moment for every Indian. Shouldn't have been drawn into the political arena," Patra said in a tweet. "By the way when there is no future leadership in view there’s a tendency to fall back on the past to stay relevant...sadly this is what has happened to the Congress," he added. Earlier hailing the launch, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter, "special moments that will be etched in the annals of our glorious history. The launch of Chandrayaan-2 illustrates the prowess of our scientists and the determination of 130 crore Indians to scale new frontiers of science. Every Indian is immensely proud today." "Indian at heart, Indian in spirit! What would make every Indian overjoyed is the fact that Chandrayaan-2 is a fully indigenous mission. It will have an Orbiter for remote sensing the Moon and also a Lander-Rover module for analysis of lunar surface," Modi said in a series of tweets. Congratulating the ISRO, BJP President and Home Minister Amit Shah said they have set another benchmark in the field of space technology and that a grateful nation is proud of the ISRO scientists. "I also thank PM Modi ji for encouraging our institutions for setting new standards every time," Shah said in a tweet. Echoing his party's line, Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also called for remembering that Chandrayaan epoch started on October 22, 2008, when Chandrayaan 1 was launched and put into orbit. "July 22, 2019, is a red letter day in the space exploration calendar of India! Hats off to Dr Sivan and his team for the successful launch of Chandrayaan 2," he said in a series of tweets. "We look forward to September 2019 when the lunar probe will land on the moon," the former finance minister said. He called for remembering November 14, 2008, when the first probe landed on the moon and placed the Indian flag. Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda said, "from building Aryabhatta in makeshift asbestos sheds in Peenya, Bangalore in 1970s to success of Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Chandrayaan-2 today, our space program's incredible success is our national pride. Kudos to ISRO, our scientists, engineers and visionary leaders from PM Nehru onward." Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had also on Sunday said,"India's space journey began with Pt Nehru, and took a giant leap in 1975 with the launch of Aryabhat, led by charismatic PM Indira Gandhi. ISRO has many notable achievements including Chandrayaan (2008) and Mangalayaan (2013). Wishing Team ISRO all the best for Chandrayaan-2." The geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle lifted-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota at 2.43 pm and successfully placed the 3,850-kg Chandrayaan-2 into the earth orbit about 16 minutes later. The Rs 978 crore mission, that will mark a giant leap in India's space research and make it only the fourth country to have landed a rover on Moon, was rescheduled to Monday after scientists corrected the technical glitch in the three-stage rocket. PTI ASK/SKC PYK ANB ANB

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