Ahead of Narendra Modi's public rally here, BJP today said permission has been denied at the last minute by the army for landing his helicopter at the Race Course ground in the city and alleged a "conspiracy" by the Centre.
"Modiji will arrive here to address a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground tomorrow, but the army has denied permission for his helicopter to land at the race course ground," West Bengal BJP President Rahul Sinha told reporters here. He said that according to the army, the race course ground could only be used by the President or Prime Minister and not a political person.
"If they had told us two or three days ago, then we could have made other arrangements. The central government is playing dirty and cheap politics," he alleged.
Sinha said that it had been planned to bring the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate by helicopter from the NSC Bose International Airport to avoid traffic snarls.
"But permission was denied at the last moment. It is a conspiracy by the UPA government," he alleged. Sinha said that Gujarat government had written to the army authorities seeking permission for Modi's helicopter to land at the race course ground. He said that a formal request was sent to the army authorities by the Gujarat government. "After the Gujarat CMO sent an official request they turned it down. We had asked for a written declaration, but they didn't give us any such thing till now," Sinha said.
The army spokesperson here could not be contacted despite several attempts.
Sinha also criticised the state government for alleged non-cooperation with Gujarat security officials.
"Both the state and the Centre are not cooperating with us. The state government has not made any arrangements for food and accommodation for the NSG and Gujarat officials who have come here for security arrangements. Is this the way things should function?" asked Sinha. Sinha said that a three tier security cordon was in place for Modi's rally with the first being manned by the NSG and Gujarat security officials, the second by the Kolkata police and the third by 1070 BJP cadres under 52 observers.
Six watch towers and CCTV cameras would keep watch on the crowd.
The state BJP chief said that the alternative was for Modi to come by road. "We are looking into it."
According to BJP sources, the party was considering either the Behala Flying club ground for the helicopter or a substitute road that the Kolkata police had prepared in advance for Modi's convoy.