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Cong congratulates ISRO for Chandrayaan launch, says 'good time' to remember Nehru for funding space research

(Eds: Updating with Chidambaram's tweet) New Delhi, Jul 22 (PTI) The Congress on Monday congratulated ISRO for the successful launch of its lunar mission Chandrayaan-2, and sought to take credit for India's advancement in space research by highlighting steps taken by its two prime ministers -- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Manmohan Singh.However, the BJP hit back accusing the Congress of drawing the issue into political arena."Congratulations Team ISRO for the successful launch of Chandryaan2," 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 Chandrayan2 project in 2008," it added.The comments came soon after India successfully launched Chandrayaan-2 on board its powerful rocket GSLV-MkIII-M1 from the Sriharikota spaceport to explore the unchartered south pole of the moon by landing a rover.BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra hit back at the Congress, saying, "This is really demeaning.. It's a proud moment for every Indian. Shouldn't have been drawn into the political arena. "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," Patra tweeted.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 saidHe called for remembering November 14, 2008, when the first probe landed on the moon and placed the Indian flag.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.Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda said, "From building Aryabhatta in makeshift asbestos sheds in Peenya, Bangalore in 1970s to success of Chandrayaan1 in 2008 and Chandrayaan2 today, our space program's incredible success is our national pride. Kudos to ISRO, our scientists, engineers and visionary leaders from PM Nehru onward.Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala expressed his gratitude to all the scientists and space engineers at ISRO, saying they have toiled day and night to make 130 crore Indians proud.Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had 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 Chandrayaan2."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."India's 'Tryst With Destiny' continues with the successful launch of Chandraayan2. There are defining moments like these that make us a great nation. My gratitude to all scientists and space engineers at ISRO who have toiled day and night to make 130 Crore Indians proud," Surjewala tweeted.The mission's success brought in huge relief for ISRO scientists after the July 15 launch was called off just about an hour left following a technical glitch in the rocket.The Rs 978 crore mission, which 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 SKC ASK PYK KJKJ