It is not only BJP president Amit Shah whose chopper was not allowed to land in Bengal to hold a political rally. Here's a quick recap.
Kolkata: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday again denied permission for BJP president Amit Shah’s chopper to land.
The BJP on Monday decided to move the Election Commission after the incident, which Union minister Prakash Javadekar called as 'tanashahi' (dictatorship).
Shah's rally was scheduled for Monday in Jadavpur, which goes to the polls on May 19 — the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections. Though Shah was granted permission to land his chopper, it was denied at the last moment.
However, this is not the first time that permissions were denied for opposition leaders’ choppers to land in Bengal. here's a quick recap.
1. Amit Shah
In January 2019, the Mamata government had refused permission to Shah's chopper to land at the Malda airstrip. Additional district magistrate of Malda had said: "As per report of the executive engineer, PWD (civil), Malda Division, up-gradation of work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. A large quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials is lying all along the runway and also stacked all around the site. Moreover, the temporary helipad is not maintained properly due to this ongoing construction work. In this situation, Malda Airport is not suitable for safe landing of helicopters. Hence, granting of permission (for Amit Shah's chopper) is not possible."
Union Min RS Prasad: At same helipad Mamata ji's helicopter landed few days ago. Some journalists went there, I have pictures, it is neat & clean. Helicopters are landing & can land. Based on baseless falsehood, by abuse of govt power, helicopter of Amit Shah ji had been denied. pic.twitter.com/xdOrCSvgra— ANI (@ANI) January 21, 2019
But when media visited the Malda airport, it found that the helipad area and the runway were clean and clear of any construction material. Photos of the airstrip emerged in sections of media that did not suggest any work of upgrading the strip. After this expose, the chopper could land opposite Hotel Golden Park in Malda for his political rally, but not in its pre-designated place.
2. Yogi Adityanath
After BJP president Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was denied the permission to land in Bengal by the Mamata Banerjee administration in February this year, the BJP alleged. The firebrand Hindutva leader was scheduled to address two rallies — in Raiganj and Balurghat.
Information adviser to Adityanath, Mrityunjay Kumar was quick to hit out saying, “Due to the popularity of Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mamata Banerjee did not give the permission.”
Later he drove from Jharkhand border to Purulia to address the rally. But BJP didn't lose the opportunity to cry foul.
BJP will haunt you more @MamataOfficial, so my free advise to you is to stay calm. If you try to stop one public meeting of @myogiadityanath ji, he will address 10 more rallies. Be ready.— Chowkidar Sayantan Basu (@basusayan) February 3, 2019
3. Rahul Gandhi
It wasn't just leaders from BJP who faced the high-handedness of the ruling Trinamool.
Even Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is part of the Mahagathbandhan at the Centre with Trinamool, wasn't spared. The Siliguri Police had rejected an application by the Congress to allow Gandhi's helicopter to land at the Police Commissionerate Ground of the north Bengal city.
The Congress president, who recently criticised the Bengal chief minister in one of his rallies, was set to hold a public rally at Siliguri's Dagapur on April 14. However, sources told MyNation that the right to land on the ground was denied the last moment. Reason? It was said that the ground was being used for the purpose of election.
However, unlike the BJP, Congress didn't escalate the matter with the Trinamool. The initial denial of permission to Shah and Yogi was met with strong rebuttals of the Bengal government's claims by the BJP. Congress, in contrast, chose to walk the non-confrontational way.
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Last Updated May 13, 2019, 4:10 PM IST