India politicians’ bizarre reactions on lunar mission success: ‘Hail Chandrayaan-3 passengers’
OP Rajbhar, a politician from India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh, remarked that the entire country should welcome Chandrayaan-3 when it returns to Earth.
(L-R) West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (ANI Photo), a model of Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images) and Uttar Pradesh lawmaker OP rajbhar (ANI Photo)
WHILE India and the rest of the world were celebrating the success of the country’s lunar mission Chandrayaan-3 on Wednesday (23), some politicians at home came up with bizarre reactions, giving social media enough fodder for amusement.
One such leader is OP Rajbhar. The chief of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party and a lawmaker in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh wished the scientists of India’s space agency ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) for landing the spacecraft successfully on the surface of the moon.
However, the 60-year-old Rajbhar, who joined the National Democratic Alliance led by prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, then said that the entire country should welcome the spacecraft when it returns to Earth.
Chandrayaan-3 is not supposed to return with the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover supposed to remain on the moon.
Rajbhar said this while speaking to UP Tak, an Indian channel, before the Vikram lander module touched down on the moon’s surface.
In a short video clip that went viral, Rajbhar was heard congratulating the scientists for their research and then on the Chandrayaan-3 mission, he said, “I congratulate them on this. When it is time tomorrow for its safe arrival on earth, the whole country should welcome it.”
Rajasthan minister hails Chandrayaan-3 ‘passengers’
Ashok Chandna, youth affairs and sports minister of the north-western state of Rajasthan, also made the headlines for making a bizarre remark about Chandrayaan-3. He ended up congratulating the ‘passengers’ of the moon mission saying he would salute them if the landing was safe.
His remark about the unmanned mission came at an event in the state shortly before the soft landing took place in the moon’s South Pole.
“Agar safe landing hui, to jo yatri gaye hain hamare unko salaam karta hu (If we are successful and make a safe landing, I salute the passengers),” he told reporters.
“Our country has taken a step further in science and space research. I congratulate the countrymen for this,” Chandna added.
West Bengal CM Mamata goofs up
Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the eastern state of West Bengal and one of the major anti-Modi faces in Indian politics, also committed a blunder while speaking about the lunar mission.
Speaking at an event in state capital Kolkata shortly before the landing, the veteran politician confused Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma with actor-filmmaker Rakesh Roshan.
“On behalf of the people of West Bengal, I send my advance congratulations to ISRO. Scientists must get credit. Credit must go to the country. When Rakesh Roshan [sic] landed on the moon, former prime minister Indira Gandhi asked him how India looked from there,” she said.
Sharma, the only Indian citizen to have travelled to space (he did not go to the moon), did so in April 1984 as part of the erstwhile Soviet Union’s Soyuz T-11 expedition. A former pilot of the Indian Air Force, Sharma told Gandhi that India looked ‘saare jahaan se accha‘ (better than the rest of the world) from space during a news conference that was televised live.
Shakti Yadav, a politician from the eastern state of Bihar congratulated American space agency NASA for the success of Chandrayaan-3.
The Indian politicians’ gaffe was quickly grabbed by netizens and social media was flooded with memes in no time.