Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he did not “put pressure” on his helicopter pilot to land in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, when visibility was poor on Monday.
The issue caused consternation because Gandhi’s helicopter landed at about 5.30 pm, when light was fading out.
State Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi praised Gandhi for taking the risk of landing at that hour for a convention of backward classes.
“As the helicopter was being taken to Hardoi, Rahul asked the pilot to take the helicopter (to Sitapur),” Joshi said.
But Gandhi said: “I didn’t put pressure on the pilot.”
“The pilot (informed me) how his job (was) put at risk following the controversy,” he said, adding, “it’s not fair”.
Joshi said Gandhi insisted the helicopter land under conditions of zero visibility. “The pilot asked Rahul not to do (this) again,” she Joshi.
“Our president (Joshi) is not an expert on (weather),” Gandhi said. “Visibility was not zero.”
The UP government has informed the Centre about the incident. “The helicopter landed after sunset and it was not at the right place,” said Additio-nal Cabinet Secretary Vijay Shankar Pandey on Tuesday.