Modi's ASAT test announcement a panic reaction: Rahul

Last Updated 27 March 2019, 16:38 IST

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dramatic announcement of an anti-satellite test in an address to the nation was a result of “fear and panic”.

Addressing a rally here, Rahul said the BJP camp was rattled by the Congress' poll-promise of minimum income guarantee – Nyay – to the poorest of the poor that prompted Modi to “keep the nation waiting for 45 minutes.”

“Did you see his face? I saw fear and panic. He has realised that the Congress will now do nyay (justice) .. now he has realised the time has come to go (time aagaya hai jaaneka),” Rahul said.

The Congress President and other opposition leaders such as Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and BSP supremo Mayawati congratulated the country's defence scientists for the successful demonstration of the anti-satellite weapon.

However, they were riled by the dramatic announcement made by the Prime Minister in a televised address to the nation just a fortnight before the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections got underway.

Banerjee said there was “no great urgency” of announcing the mission by a government “past its expiry date”. Rahul mockingly greeted Modi “a very happy World Theatre Day.”

The CPM and Trinamool moved the Election Commission asking it to take cognizance of the prime minister's televised address, which they claimed was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

“Hope more space shootings and Star Wars are not planned in next six weeks nor more State of Nation addresses. Neither fear, nor frustration nor desperation nor seeing of electoral writing on wall should lead to such events and such timing,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav lauded India's defence scientists but hit out at Prime Minister Modi for diverting the attention from issues such as unemployment, rural crisis and women's security.

Yadav, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, claimed that Modi got himself an hour of free airtime on news television in the middle of the election campaign.

(Published 27 March 2019, 15:23 IST)

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