The Congress party on Thursday hit out at former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair over his remarks that Chandrayaan-2, India’s ambitious mission to the Moon, could have become a reality during the Congress-led UPA era had it not been for one political decision. The scientist said that the Congress wanted to showcase a major event ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and chose to ahead with the Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission) instead. While the Chandrayaan-2 was delayed on account of Congress’ decision to go ahead with Mangalyaan instead, even the Mars mission could be launched only after the elections and Narendra Modi took charge as Prime Minister.
Speaking to the media, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi condemned Nair’s remarks and said he has no right to criticise the government. He further alleged that Nair was singing to the tune of the BJP. “You have no business to criticise government. You are a scientist; you are supposed to be pride of place in our Constitution. Just because you find that a particular political party is out of power or in power, tomorrow will some other scientist start singing the tune of the Congress when we come back to power that all things were delayed by the BJP,” he said.
Nair had served as the chief of ISRO and secretary in the Department of Space between 2003 and 2009. He was the architect of Chandrayaan-1, the country’s first unmanned mission to the Moon. The mission was launched on October 22, 2008. In August 2009, Nair had announced that the Chandrayaan-2 will be launched by the end of 2012. Nair joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in October last year.
The ISRO has announced that Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on July 15 from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh. The 3,890 kg Chandrayaan-2 will take off on July 15 at 02.15 am. Through this mission, the ISRO will send a robot which will share information about the presence of water on the surface of the Moon. The space agency said that it will land its rover on the Moon surface on September 6.
With the launch of Chandrayaan-2, India will become the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to land and ride on the Moon’s surface.