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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

After Amit Shah, Smriti Irani’s helicopter lands into controversy

A day after Bengal witnessed BJP and Trinamool trading charges over permission to land a helicopter carrying BJP president Amit Shah to a rally in Malda district, a chopper carrying Union minister Smriti Irani landed in fresh controversy.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2019 22:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Smriti Irani
Smriti Irani(HT file photo)
         

A day after Bengal witnessed BJP and Trinamool trading charges over permission to land a helicopter carrying BJP president Amit Shah to a rally in Malda district, a chopper carrying Union minister Smriti Irani landed in fresh controversy.

As Shah had to return to Delhi on Tuesday due to illness, Irani came to the party’s rescue to address the rally on his behalf. While she addressed a rally in Bengal’s Jhargram town, she couldn’t make it to Siuri in Birbhum district later on Wednesday.

The BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who accompanied Irani, alleged that the state government did not allow the helicopter to land in Jhargram where a permanent helipad already exists and issued permission for the rally late on Wednesday morning although the party applied for it days ago.

“The state government did not give us permission till Wednesday morning, resulting in delay in holding the rally. They also did not allow us to land the helicopter in Jhargram. We had to land at Kaliakunda airbase of the Indian air force. The police and district administration are saying that they gave us permission on time. They are lying. This is dirty politics,” Vijayvargiya said at the rally.

“We are going to Siuri from here,” he added. Vijayvargiya had no idea that he and Irani would have to cancel the Birbhum trip.

“Kalaikunda is a 40-minute drive from Jhargram. Since Smriti Irani ji’s meeting got delayed, her helicopter could not leave Kalaikunda till 4 pm. Even if she made it to Siuri, the helicopter could not have taken off after sundown. Trinamool and the administration joined hands to foil the rally in Birbhum,” alleged BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha.

“Many people are alleging many things. But the public can see what happened on the ground,” said Sukumar Hansda, deputy speaker of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly and Trinamool MLA from Jhargram constituency.

At 11.30 am, Jhargram district magistrate Ayesha Rani told the media that permission for the rally had been given.

The public meeting in Jhargram was supposed to start at 11 am on Wednesday. But the BJP leaders arrived about 2:30 pm. By the time the meeting was over, it was past 3:30 pm.

In Birbhum, Trinamool district magistrate Anubrata Mondal went on the defensive. “All they can do is blame Trinamool. Whether Narendra Modi cancels his trip to Bengal or Smriti Irani’s helicopter cannot land somewhere, BJP will blame us,” said Mondal.

First Published: Jan 23, 2019 22:10 IST

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