‘Clerical objections’: Arun Jaitley on Opposition’s criticism of Mission Shakti
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has rejected the Opposition’s objections toUpdated: Mar 27, 2019 16:07 IST
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday dubbed the Opposition’s objection to the timing of announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘Mission Shakti’ as “clerical objections”. He was responding to objections raised by Opposition leaders including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who questioned the timing of announcement.
Jaitley said, “India’s nuclear programme is a continuing programme…It can’t be put to a halt because it does not suit the West Bengal chief minister or any other political leader. It will run 365 days, election or not.”
Banerjee called the announcement of Mission Shakti by PM Modi as violation of the poll code terming it as “yet another limitless drama”.
“Today’s announcement is yet another limitless drama and publicity mongering by Modi desperately trying to reap political benefits at the time of election. This is a gross violation of Model Code of Conduct,” tweeted Banerejee
“There is no great urgency in conducting and announcing the mission now by a government past its expiry date. It seems a desperate oxygen to save the imminent sinking of the BJP boat. We are lodging a complaint with the Election Commission,” she added.
Banerjee’s tweets followed PM Modi’s televised address to the nation, in which he announced that India has become the fourth nation in the world to have acquired the capability to shoot down a live target in space.
Earlier, PM said, “In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today…Shooting down a low earth orbit satellite is a rare achievement for the country.”
The prime minister announced that the “entire effort is indigenous. India’s stands tall as a space power. It will make India stronger, even more secure and will further peace and harmony.”
The announcement of an achievement by PM Modi on barely two weeks ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha election saw sharp reactions from the Opposition parties. While the Congress congratulated the scientists for the rare step achieved on Wednesday, the party said the feat could accomplished due to futuristic vision of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi took a dig at PM Modi while praising the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the successful A-SAT test.
“Well done DRDO, extremely proud of your work. I would also like to wish the PM a very happy World Theatre Day,” Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also hit out at PM Modi in a letter he shot off to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. He complained that the announcement by PM Modi “clearly a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.”
“The lower they go, the stronger we will emerge,” Jaitley said responding to the Opposition’s criticism, adding, “After making the historical blunder following the Balakot strike, history has given the Opposition a chance to make amends.”
While the Opposition said that the successful test-fire of A-SAT is the culmination of the process initiated during the previous UPA government, Jaitley said the decision to this effect was taken in 2014 after the Modi government came into power.
“The process started in 2014 after the prime minister gave the permission. It is a huge achievement, not only we have become space power but we are now in big four. We should not forget that tomorrow’s wars will not be the same as yesterday’s wars,” said Jaitley at a press conference in New Delhi.
India scientists had the capability but there wasn’t government nod earlier for this test, Jaitley said. Before India conducted A-SAT test, only the US, Russia and China had the capability to hit a live target in space.