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ISRO=Nehru’s Vision vs Over The Moon: ‘X’-factor in Contrasting ‘Chandra Yarns’ of Congress And BJP – News18

The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft landed on the moon’s south pole around 6.04 pm (IST) on Wednesday. (Image: Shutterstock)

Following the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission on Wednesday, while the BJP congratulated ISRO scientists on social media, the Congress’s focus has been on crediting India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his legacy for the phenomenal feat

As the Chandrayaan-3‘s Vikram lander made a historic touchdown on the dark side of the moon after a journey of 384,000 km that put India in an elite group of spacefaring nations, the stark contrast between the ruling BJP and the main opposition Congress’s responses on social media to the momentous event became a topic of discussion. While the Bharatiya Janata Party congratulated Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists, the grand old party’s focus has been on crediting India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his legacy for Wednesday’s phenomenal feat.

Contrast in first messages

As soon as the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft landed on the lunar south pole around 6.04 pm (IST) on Wednesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from its main handle on social media platform X (previously Twitter) posted a simple message: “Congratulations to ISRO! India is over the moon with pride!” It bore an image of the Vikram lander on the lunar surface.

The Congress’s first post was a sheer contrast. It said, “Congratulations to all the countrymen including ISRO on the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the surface of the Moon. Seeing the need of space research in the future, Pandit Nehru laid the foundation of ISRO. It is the result of his foresight that today India is setting new records in the field of space research in the whole world.”

The difference was clear—the latter was claiming credit while the former was just a wish to the organisation that made 1.4 billion Indians proud.

ISRO = Nehru’s vision?

Soon the Congress’s social media push turned Nehru-centric. Another post on X was a graphic card that had the figure of the first PM, describing how ISRO, originally INCOSPAR, was “founded in 1962 by Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru”. It listed the saga from the Aryabhata satellite in 1975 to the Mangalyaan Mission in 2013—suggesting Wednesday’s feat was a progression from the groundwork done during Congress rule. The post is rather straight: “It was independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, whose scientific outlook and vision laid the foundation of Indian space research.”

Another post has a 3-minute 12-second-long audio-visual, which was kept ready by the Congress, that once again hammered in the same point—Chandrayaan-3’s success is because of the “vision” of Nehru. The anchor is heard saying, “Pt Nehru ke paas vision tha, doordarshita thi (Pt Nehru had vision, he had foresight).” It also shows visuals from 1984 of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asking India’s first spacefarer Rakesh Sharma, “Upar se Bharat kaisa dikhta hai aap ko?” The entire post is titled “ISROs journey = journey of Nehru Ji’s vision”.

PM, BJP chief vs Congress president, Jairam Ramesh

The BJP’s social media posts for the Chandrayaan-3 success carried statements of two people: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief JP Nadda. One post showed the now-viral video of PM Modi calling up ISRO chief S Somanath from South Africa. Another post took a section from Modi’s brief address to ISRO scientists where he called the moment “historic” and a “celebration of New India”.

Nadda harped on how India made a turnaround after Chandrayaan-2’s failure to land. He thanked scientists and the “leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi” alike.

Meanwhile, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, while offering his salute to the prowess of ISRO scientists and all stakeholders, said that Wednesday’s output was the “result of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision”. He reminded the contribution by “other Prime Ministers as well” during whose time Aryabhata and the Soviet-led space mission of Rakesh Sharma were undertaken.

Congress media cell head Jairam Ramesh’s video statement talked about how “ISRO’s achievement today” is reflective of a “saga of continuity”.

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