Will ISRO’s Chandrayaan 3 success help PM Modi’s mission 2024?

BJP definitely is going to take all possible advantage of this success

The realpolitik question is how far the ISRO’s successful mission to the moon of Chandrayaan 3, going to help Prime Minister Modi’s mission 2024?

After the happiness of the success of Chandrayaan 3 subsides, there will be a search for who should eventually reap the benefit and get the credit for the success.

Even though we might say that the entire Indian nation is to take the credit, particularly the scientific fraternity more so the scientists and technicians of the Indian Space Research Organisation, there can be seen a fine line as to how the BJP and the Opposition particularly the Congress are portraying this national success.

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Just days before Modi was being cornered in Parliament on the Manipur issue so much so that the Opposition had come out with a No Confidence Motion.

The Opposition uniting in the grouping  I.N.D.I. A was hounding Prime Minister Modi on Manipur violence and rape issues. They were challenging the Prime Minister to come out and speak in Parliament and eventually forced him to do so.

The Opposition then successfully put the Prime Minister on the defensive and even after his address in Parliament tried to drill holes into it saying that his speech attacked the Opposition more than talk about the Manipur issue.

The Opposition attempted to create the image of a weak Prime Minister who was trying to shy away from speaking in Parliament and had not been able to handle the Manipur crisis properly, thereby trying to question his confidence and ability to run the nation.

But within days the whole scenario changed. Prime Minister Modi has become the adulation of the whole nation once again – the Man under whose watch – India became the first country to be able to place its Chandrayaan 3 spacecraft near the Southern Pole of the Moon. Such a big achievement. The BJP is surely going to drum up for days.

The political significance of Prime Minister Modi coming on screen from the BRICS summit meeting itself in Johannesburg, South Africa, cutting into the live ISRO feed, to personally congratulate all Indians and the ISRO team on this momentous occasion (when perhaps the highest number of eyeballs in the country and other parts of the world were glued to the television sets) cannot be under-estimated. It just re-established that it was under his leadership that India achieved one of its greatest triumphs.

The refrain that “Modi has made India proud internationally” is already being made by all.

Even though no one is talking about the coming elections and all are at present are soaking in the happiness and pride felt at the victory of India, the BJP definitely is going to take all possible advantage of this success, come 2024 elections.

The main Opposition party Congress’s leader Rahul Gandhi has in a twitter congratulated “team ISRO” for its “pioneering feat”.

He has in carefully chosen words said, “Chandrayaan’s soft landing on the uncharted lunar South Pole is the result of decades of tremendous ingenuity and hard work by our scientific community. Since 1962, India’s space program has continued to scale new heights and inspire generations of young dreamers.”

Very clearly, he has tried to divorce the credit for the achievement being attributed to any single individual or period in the country.

While BJP leaders naturally gave credit to the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

Congress leaders wanted to make it clear that without their leader, former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision for Space and establishment of ISRO and further developments in the sector nurtured by many subsequent Congress and other governments, the last few years achievements may not have been possible.

BJP Chief J. P. Nadda congratulating the ISRO scientists, said, “I would like to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi…. Under his leadership, the country is creating new feats of success, carving a unique space for itself in the field of space exploration. This is true to the mantra of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.”

For him, the success within a span of four years “would not have been possible without the Prime Minister’s relentless efforts and the incredible ability of our scientists”.

Carefully the BJP chief wanted to make it clear to the people that Narendra Modi or BJP was not just reaping the advantage of all the hard work having been done and the foundation created by ISRO and the previous governments.

He pointed out that since its inception in 1969, ISRO has had 89 launch missions carrying satellites into space, of which more than 50 percent (47) were launched by the Modi government in the last nine years.

Thus he clearly brings out the political importance of Space missions.

The BJP chief himself said, “No other government launched these many missions”, this is twice the number of missions launched under the UPA.

Obviously, the  BJP wants to declare the number of missions it has launched compared to those during the period of Congress and other regimes primarily to put Congress on the back foot.

However Congress leaders not getting perturbed are pointing out that it was Prime Minister Nehru’s vision with scientists like Homi Bhaba and Vikram Sarabhai, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, that despite being a poor country India set its eyes on reaching great heights in the field of atomic energy and Space almost since Independence. Today’s Chandrayaan feat was just another milestone in India’s six-decade-long space journey, they point out.

The Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge therefore wants to stress that Chandrayaan 3  was a “collective success” of every Indian.

“We are deeply indebted to the remarkable hard work, unparalleled ingenuity and unflinching dedication of our scientists, space engineers, researchers and everyone involved…”, says Kharge.

The successful mission of Chandrayaan 3 does not seem to have been over in 2023. It is likely to play a big role in the hustings of 2024.

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