Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora after PM Narendra Modi announced the Mission Shakti. Mission Shakti was an operation where an Anti-Satellite missile brought down a low earth orbit demonstrating India's capability to conduct space warfare

by Apoorva Rao

In his letter to the Election Commission of India, he said while the accomplishment of the scientists was commendable, the announcement by PM Modi of the Mission Shakti violated the Model Code of Conduct since he was a candidate in the Lok Sabha election and should not have made the public announcement when the country will see the Lok Sabha elections soon.

Here is the content of the letter:

I am constrained to write to you to draw your attention to the announcement of yet another achievement of our scientists by the Prime Minister through an address to the nation during the course of the ongoing election campaign.

At the outset, the CPI(M) would like to place on record its deep sense of appreciation that the Indian scientists have achieved another success in developing, testing and targeting a low earth orbit satellite. That India had developed this capability was announced by the then Chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in 2012. Following the successes of India’s anti-ballistic missile defence programme and the Agni series of missiles, this capability was incorporated into the anti-satellite weapon development programme. We are sure that in the coming days, Indian scientists will reach at greater heights of targeting hostile satellites in regular space orbits as well. These achievements fill the country with pride. Congratulations to our scientists.

Such a mission should normally be announced to the nation and to the world by the relevant scientific authorities like the DRDO. Instead, the Indian Prime Minister has taken the route of an address to the nation in making this announcement.

This announcement comes in the midst of the ongoing election campaign where the Prime Minister himself is a candidate. This is clearly a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

I would like to know that if the Election Commission was informed of such an address to the nation by the Prime Minister and did the Election Commission consider and permit such an address to the nation by the Prime Minister?

I am sure that the entire country would like to know the special reasons why the Election Commission permitted the achievements of Indian scientists to be politically coloured during the course of the general elections.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

(Sitaram Yechury)
General Secretary

Earlier on Wednesday, PM Narendra Modi gave an important message to the nation where he announced that India entered its name in the elite space power as it accomplished 'Mission Shakti'.

In a difficult mission, India shot down a low earth orbit using its A-Sat missile within three minutes and became the fourth country to be able to shot down an LEO.

The announcement has been politicised by those in the Opposition including Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi. Mamata Banerjee has even said that her party would approach the EC over the violation of Moral Code of Conduct.