Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday sought to stave off a controversy that he had forced the pilot to land his helicopter in poor visibility conditions in Sitapur on Monday evening and virtually snubbed Uttar Pradesh Congress President Rita Bahuguna Joshi who triggered it.
"I am a pilot and I am absolutely aware of the dangers of flying in low visibility conditions. I will be the last person to do it," he told a press conference, dismissing Joshi's remarks that he had forced the pilot to land in bad conditions. Joshi was seated by his side.
"The PCC President is not a pilot. She is not an expert on weather condition. I have not put any pressure on the pilot. The pilot called me aside this morning and told me that the media was creating a controversy and putting my job in trouble. He has not broken any rule. You are making a story and destroying their career. This is not fair," he said.
Joshi had earlier said that Gandhi forced the pilot to land the chopper because he was not ready to do it.
"We had to leave in 15 minutes because it was so dark. Putting our life in danger, we landed the helicopter in zero visibility in Sitapur. The pilot was not ready to land but Rahul Gandhi was forced him to land. You should see his commitment", she had told reporters last night.
Meanwhile, Sitapur district administration said the helicopter had landed after sunset when the visibility was "poor".