Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy stoked a major controversy on Thursday by suggesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence at the ISRO headquarters on September 6 could have proved a ‘bad omen’ as the soft landing of moon lander Vikram failed.
“I dont know (affirmatively), but probably the timing of his stepping in there could have brought a bad omen to ISRO scientists,” Kumaraswamy said at a press conference in Mysuru.
He went on to add that Modi came to Bengaluru on Sept 6 night to send across a message to the people of the country that he was behind the launch of Chandrayaan.
However, the project was the outcome of the scientists and the UPA government during 2008-09, he asserted.
“Poor scientists had toiled for 10 to 12 years. The cabinet approval for Chandrayaan-2 was given in 2008-09 and accordingly the funds were released the same year.
“He (Modi) came here to seek publicity as if he was behind the launch of Chandrayaan-2,” Kumaraswamy alleged.
In a setback to the lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 launched on July 22, the soft landing of Vikram lander on the lunar surface did not take place as planned on September 7 morning as the module lost communication with its earth station.
The Prime Minister had specifically arrived in Bengaluru to witness the event with the ISRO team.
Explaining the ‘helplessness’ of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa before the Centre on all matters, Kumaraswamy said no one in the state government and the centre had the guts to approach the Prime Minister for anything.
One example of this was the manner in which the Prime Minister indicating to the chief Minister and other union ministers present at the ISRO headquaters to leave on the intervening night of September 6 and 7, he alleged.
“The chief minister (Yediyurappa) and a deputy chief minister had gone there... two to three union ministers too accompanied him.
In a sign message, he (Modi) indicated them to leave the place, telling them there was no need for them to be there.
These people returned with their tails between their legs. This is the condition of the government that represents our people,” Kumaraswamy said.