UP elections: Akhilesh claims BJP ploy after helicopter held up in Delhi ahead of Muzaffarnagar rally

Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2022: A Delhi airport official attributed the delay to high air traffic.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday alleged that his helicopter had been stopped at Delhi for no reason, ahead of his rally at Muzaffarnagar, and was not being allowed to proceed to Muzaffarnagar. (ANI)
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday alleged that his helicopter had been stopped at Delhi for no reason, ahead of his rally at Muzaffarnagar, and was not being allowed to proceed to Muzaffarnagar. (ANI)
Published on Jan 29, 2022 12:25 AM IST
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By, Lucknow

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav alleged on Friday that his helicopter was held up at Delhi airport and not allowed to proceed to an election event in Muzaffarnagar because of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) conspiracy, a claim rejected by the ruling party and airport officials.

From the tarmac in New Delhi on Friday morning, Yadav posted a picture of him standing with the helicopter and crew in the background, and tweeted in Hindi, “My helicopter has been stopped in Delhi without any reason. It is not being allowed to go to Muzaffarnagar, while a top BJP leader has just flown from here. This is a desperate conspiracy of the losing BJP. People are understanding everything...”

Yadav and his alliance partner, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chaudhary were scheduled to address a joint press conference in Muzaffarnagar, roughly 130 kmaway from Delhi, ahead of the first phase of polls in UP on February 10.

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Half an hour later, Yadav said he got the permission to fly. “Abuse of power is a sign of people losing…this day will also be recorded in the history of socialist struggle! We are going to take a historic flight of victory…,” he said.

A Delhi airport official later told news agency ANI that his helicopter was delayed due to high air traffic. “Akhilesh Yadav’s chopper was not granted permission by Air Traffic Control (ATC) to fly initially because of high air traffic. After the clearance was given, the chopper had less fuel. After refuelling, the chopper flew to the destined place,” said the official.

The BJP dismissed the allegation. “None needs to stop you Akhilesh ji. People are ready to stop you as they did in 2014, in 2017 and in 2019 polls. Stop this drama and brace for March 10 when people will make you see the reality,” said deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.

This was Yadav’s first election trip outside Lucknow since January 14, when police filed a First Information Report (FIR) and the Election Commission of India (ECI) issued a notice to the SP over a violation of the poll watchdog’s ban on physical events. Yadav, along with several rebel BJP ministers, had addressed a “virtual rally” in the presence of roughly 2,000 people.

Yadav departed for Delhi from Lucknow’s Amausi airport at 10:30am in a private plane. He landed at Delhi airport at 11:45pm. From there, he was scheduled to leave for Muzaffarnagar around 12:15pm. He finally left at around 2.30 pm and reached Muzaffarnagar at 3.10 pm, two hours behind schedule.

Later in the evening, Yadav said he hoped ECI would look into the incident. “If someone has to go for a rally, how will they work if their chopper is stopped for so long...seems like BJP will do anything before polls,” he added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Pankaj Jaiswal is Chief of Bureau, Uttar Pradesh and covers politics. His continued interest in rural, distress, and development journalism, fetched him a handful of prestigious awards and fellowships. Pankaj is a photo-journalist too and tweets at @augustus29lotus

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