Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the Opposition for questioning the timing of the announcement of Mission Shakti being too close to the election dates.
Speaking to Republic TV, the prime minister said that the Congress party’s stand was amateurish and lacked even a basic understanding of the issue.
“In Opposition, if a younger, inexperienced person commits such a mistake it is understandable. But Congress is the oldest party in India and it has a long list of very senior leaders. The party should have sought their opinion before deciding its official stand. The party’s stand is lacking on even primary understanding about the subject matter.”
The prime minister said that firstly, contrary to what the Opposition is alleging, these things cannot be made to coincide with a particular thing, because one has to seek out a time in coordination with the international community. It is important because we need to close our airspace and notify other countries so that no untoward incident happens by chance, Modi said.
He further argued that neither can such projects come to fruition in an instant. “This was going on for a long time and we can’t pre-plan because we don’t know when we are faced with any sort of problem. These things are done on an immediate basis as and when we find a window,” Modi claimed.
Opposition parties have alleged that the prime minister announcing the success of Mission Shakti was a “violation” of the Model Code of Conduct.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at Modi wishing him “happy World Theatre Day” even as he congratulated the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). “Well done DRDO, extremely proud of your work. I would also like to wish the PM a very happy World Theatre Day,” he said on Twitter.
Other Congress leaders credited successive governments led by their party for the achievement.
“The UPA government had initiated the ASAT program which has reached fruition today. I congratulate our space scientists and the visionary leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh,” senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that Modi’s announcement was “limitless drama and publicity mongering”, amounting to “gross violation” of the Model Code of Conduct. She also accused the prime minister of making the announcement to “reap political benefits” and said her party will move the EC.
Speaking in the same vein, allies BSP and SP alleged it was a diversionary tactic while the CPM lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, terming the prime minister’s action as a “violation” of the model code of conduct.
The Election Commission has, however, absolved Modi of the poll code violation because “he did not mention the BJP, nor did he appeal for votes” in the duration of his address. The MCC has been enforced since the EC announced the dates for Lok Sabha Election 2019 on 10 March.