"Clerical Objections": Arun Jaitley On Opposition Barbs Over PM's Address

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the anti-satellite missile programme was commissioned by PM Narendra Modi in 2014. "Mission Shakti", announced by the PM this morning has triggered opposition criticism

'Clerical Objections': Arun Jaitley On Opposition Barbs Over PM's Address

Arun Jaitley said the country's nuclear programme cannot halt, "election or no election".

Highlights

  • "When finger points to moon, idiot always points to finger": Arun Jaitley
  • The opposition has argued PM's announcement is to score political points
  • Mr Jaitley said the programme started in 2014 after clearance from PM
New Delhi:

Union Minister Arun Jaitley today shredded the opposition arguments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of "Mission Shakti" amid the Model Code Conduct for the national elections that are two weeks away. Dubbing them "clerical objections", Mr Jaitley said the anti-satellite missile programme was commissioned by PM Modi in 2014.

"We are talking about national security, regional security and geopolitical security, and on the other hand you see them (opposition leaders) doing what I may term as clerical objections... Like "why now, and not after the elections?"," the Union finance minister said.

"You are not at all bothered about national security... When the finger points to the moon, the idiot always points to the finger... People who make such statements can only be answered by the people. The lower they go the stronger we will emerge," the minister told journalists after the opposition's scathing attack on the government.  

The opposition has argued that the Prime Minister's announcement is a blatant attempt to score political points from years of hard work by the country's scientists. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she would file a complaint about the violation of the Model Code of Conduct, which lays down the dos and don'ts for a caretaker government and political parties ahead of the elections.

Mr Jaitley said the programme started in 2014 after clearance from PM Modi.

"It was a long time ago that our scientists had a desire and they said that we have this ability, but the government of that time did not allow them to do this," Mr Jaitley said. The media, he said, had even reported the matter.

India's nuclear programe "cannot be put to halt because it doesn't suit the West Bengal chief minister or any other leader... It will continue 365 days a year elections or no elections," the minster added.

Announcing the successful testing of what has been named "Mission Shakti", PM Modi, in a special address to the nation this morning, said India is the fourth country to test an anti-satellite weapon after the US, Russia and China.

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