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Politics

As BJP Celebrates ASAT Test, Congress Says Credit Goes to Manmohan Govt

While everyone hailed it as an achievement, there was not as much agreement on who the credit should go to.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s televised announcement that India had carried out an anti-satellite test and shot down a low orbit satellite saw mixed reactions from across the political spectrum. While everyone hailed it as an achievement, there was not as much agreement on who the credit should go to.

While Modi’s speech projected his government as one that was making India “secure” with such “futuristic projects”, the Congress claimed that today’s events stemmed from the anti-satellite programme that was launched during the Manmohan Singh government.

After the announcement, a number of BJP leaders and ministers congratulated the Modi government and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Union home minister Rajnath Singh, for instance, said the success of ‘Mission Shakti’ will help strengthen India’s defence capabilities.

Several other leaders made much more direct references to the Modi government’s involvement.

Congress leaders, however, said that will India should be proud of the DRDO’s achievement, the Modi government should not be getting the credit. They pinned the success on a programme launched under Manmohan Singh.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also followed a similar argument.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi made a jibe at the prime minister while congratulating the DRDO.

Perhaps supporting their view, several observers pointed out that the DRDO chief had said back in 2012 that the agency was willing show its anti-satellite capabilities if the government gave its nod.

Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav too said that while Modi was using the achievement for “free TV” time that would distract from the real issues, the credit for Mission Shakti should lie entirely with the DRDO and ISRO.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan too agreed, saying the DRDO and ISRO had been working on the programme for years, and Modi should not take the credit.