'Did you permit politicising scientists' achievements'

'Did you permit politicising scientists' achievements'

Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor missile being launched by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ engaging an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode from Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha, Wednesday, March 27, 2019. With this India joins a select group of four nations, which have such capability. (PTI Photo)

Taking exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation to announce India achieving the anti-satellite test (ASAT) capability, CPM on Wednesday asked the Election Commission whether it permitted the ruling party to politically colour the achievements of Indian scientists during election season.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora hours after Modi's address, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the announcement comes in the midst of the ongoing election campaign where the prime minister himself is a candidate.

"Such a mission should normally be announced to the nation and to the world by the relevant scientific authorities like the DRDO. Instead, the Indian Prime Minister has taken the route of an address to the nation in making this announcement. This is clearly a violation of the Model Code of Conduct," Yechury said.

While placing on record CPM's "deep sense of appreciation" that the Indian scientists have achieved another success in developing, testing and targeting a low earth orbit satellite, he said India had developed this capability and it was announced by the then Chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in 2012.

"Following the successes of India’s anti-ballistic missile defence programme and the Agni series of missiles, this capability was incorporated into the anti-satellite weapon development programme. We are sure that in the coming days, Indian scientists will reach at greater heights of targeting hostile satellites in regular space orbits as well. These achievements fill the country with pride," he said.

Yechury said he would like to know that if the Election Commission was informed of such an address to the nation by the prime minister and did the Election Commission consider and permit such an address to the nation by the prime minister.