Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mahua Moitra has stirred controversy by alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to utilize India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), as a campaign tool for the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Moitra’s comments were directed at what she called the “Bhakt and troll army,” a term often used to describe fervent supporters of the ruling party.
Moitra took to social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) to express her concerns, stating, “ISRO is now BJP’s 2024 campaign tool. Every mission will be used to whip up nationalistic frenzy before elections.” She also criticized the perceived efforts of the “Bhakt and troll army” to portray Indian scientific research as “Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai magic,” implying an undue attribution of achievements to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Remarks following Chandrayaan 3 successful Landing
The remarks followed India’s successful landing of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the Moon’s south pole, an achievement that marked a significant milestone in the country’s space exploration efforts. Prime Minister Modi, who was abroad during the event, extended his congratulations to the nation virtually and spoke to ISRO Chairman S Somanath.
In response to Moitra’s comments, BJP supporters defended the party’s record and its commitment to advancing scientific research. They highlighted that the success of ISRO’s missions is a testament to India’s capabilities under the leadership of both the organization and the government.
Moitra further remarked, “Yes, ISRO has a lander on the moon. Not the first time too. May we remind BJP that Narendra Modi has not landed on the moon. Nor has BJP IT Cell produced the research behind Chandrayaan. Just saying.”
Prime Minister Modi, who recently returned from a visit to Greece, visited Bengaluru to meet the ISRO team responsible for Chandrayaan-3’s success. During his address, he referred to the scientists as the “head of the ISRO family” and commended their dedication.
Senior Scientist Nidhi Porwal from the U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) expressed enthusiasm about the Prime Minister’s visit, stating, “It’s always good when the head of the family comes. We report directly to the Prime Minister as the Department of Space. It’s a pleasure and it motivates us so much.”
Moitra’s comments have sparked a debate about the role of scientific achievements in political campaigns and the extent to which they are utilized for electoral gains. As the nation approaches the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, discussions around the topic are likely to intensify, shedding light on the intersection of science, politics, and national pride.