On the eve of prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru to meet the scientists behind the successful Chandrayaan-3 mission, the Congress on Friday alleged that the PM had barred Karnataka chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah from receiving him (Modi) at the airport.
This, said the party’s Jairam Ramesh, was because the PM was ‘irritated’ that both the chief minister and deputy chief minister of Karnataka felicitated the scientists before Modi.
“The Prime Minister is scheduled to directly land in Bengaluru tomorrow at 6 am after his after his latest foreign jaunt to congratulate ISRO. He is apparently so irritated with the CM and Deputy CM of Karnataka for felicitating the scientists of ISRO before him, that he has purportedly barred the CM from receiving him at the airport, going against protocol,” Ramesh said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
Slamming this as ‘nothing but petty politics,’ the Rajya Sabha MP, who heads the grand old party’s communications department, then recalled an incident from the time Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat.
“Has PM Modi forgotten CM Modi’s visit to the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad on 22nd Oct, 2008 just after the successful launch of the Chandrayaan-I at a time when Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister?” Ramesh wrote.
On Wednesday, hours after the Indian Space Research Organsation (ISRO), through its Chandrayaan-3 mission, scripted history by making India only the fourth country to make soft-landing on Moon, Karnataka deputy CM DK Shivakumar arrived at the nation space agency’s HQs to congratulate the team.
The next day, CM Siddaramaiah visited the ISRO headquarters in the state capital.
PM Modi, on the other hand, was in South Africa from Aug 22-24 for the 15th BRICS summit, and therefore, joined the scientists virtually for the mission’s landing. On Friday, he was in Greece on a day-long visit, and will directly reach Bengaluru on Saturday morning.
Before India, only the United States, Russia, and China, had made soft-landing on the lunar surface. Additionally, India is the only nation to reach the Moon’s South Pole, the mission’s intended destination.