KOLKATA: The BJP on Monday charged the Trinamool Congress and the West Bengal government with a conspiracy to thwart party president Amit Shah’s rallies in the state by denying clearance for his helicopter to land in Malda.
“Upgradation work going on at Malda Airport. Sand and material lying around. Airport not suitable for safe landing of the helicopter. Permission not possible,” the additional district magistrate is said to have written in a reply to the BJP’s request for permission while allowing the chopper to land at the designated hotel grounds where the BJP chief would be staying. Party workers said the hotel had inadequate space to land a chopper.
The district BJP, in a letter, charged, that while Shah’s chopper was disallowed, government copters continued to land at Malda.
The episode kicked up a row with Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal accusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of abusing her power.
Prasad claimed that he had photographs of the good condition of the airport during Banerjee’s visit to Malda a few days ago.
Goyal said, “It shows the TMC is scared of the BJP. The state government is trying to block all programmes of the BJP. It shows its desperation”.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “The administration has denied permission citing construction work. No such construction is being conducted at Malda airport.”West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, however, was quick to dismiss the charge, saying it was “absolutely untrue”.
“For helicopter landing, police gives permissions. They are distorting facts and misinforming people...” Banerjee told reporters at the Kolkata airport.
“As per police request they even change my helicopter landing. They have granted all the permissions for the meetings because we believe in democracy. They have asked for permission at different places and we have given all the permissions,” Banerjee said.
A senior police official said, “This allegation of refusal of permission is incorrect. There were some security-related issues because of some ongoing construction work at the helipad. The matter is being processed and no objection is being given.”
BJP claimed permission for the venue of Shah’s rally in Birbhum district was denied. A party leader said permission was denied for all the grounds.