- Well done DRDO, extremely proud of your work: Rahul Gandhi
- Tweet came after PM Modi announced success of "Mission Shakti"
- India shot down live satellite with an anti-satellite missile or ASAT: PM
Shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the success of India's "Mission Shakti in an address to the nation, Rahul Gandhi congratulated the defence research body and wished PM "Happy World Theatre Day".
PM Modi announced that India had joined the elite club of space powers by shooting down a live satellite with an anti-satellite missile or A-SAT. India is the fourth country to have tested such an anti-satellite weapon after the US, Russia and China, the Prime Minister said in a rare address to the nation with elections just weeks away.
Among the first few opposition leaders who reacted to the televised announcement was the Congress president.
"Well done DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), extremely proud of your work. I would also like to wish the PM a very happy World Theatre Day," tweeted Rahul Gandhi.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley hit back saying, "The lower they go, the stronger we emerge."
Mr Jaitley attacked the opposition for what he dubbed "clerical objections" and said India's nuclear programme was on 365 days, "whether or not there is an election".
The opposition has questioned the timing of PM Modi's address, in the middle of the campaign for the April-May national election, when a code of conduct is in place.
The A-SAT missile shot down the Low Earth Orbit satellite within "three minutes of launch", with remarkable precision and technical capability, PM Modi said in the televised address that he had asked the nation to tune in to in a surprise tweet in the morning. "This is a big moment for India, something all of us should be proud of. We are not just capable to defend on land, water and air, but now also in space. I congratulate all scientists who have made this possible and made India a much stronger nation."
Rahul Gandhi, addressing a gathering in Delhi, said the PM's expression during his address betrayed his anxiety that "his time to go has come".
"He (PM) made the country wait for 45 minutes for his announcement, did you look at his face? He has realised that the Congress will now give justice...Modi is now afraid that his time to go has come," the Congress president said.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted:
Today @narendramodi got himself an hour of free TV & divert nation's attention away from issues on ground — #Unemployment#RuralCrisis & #WomensSecurity — by pointing at the sky.— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) March 27, 2019
Congratulations @drdo_india & @isro — this success belongs to you. Thank you for making India safer.
A barrage of tweets by ministers and other top leaders of the ruling BJP also riled the opposition.