JP and the West Bengal government on Monday were engaged in a heated war of words over denying permission to land Amit Shah's chopper at Malda airstrip ahead of his rally on Tuesday, citing upgradation of work.
Reacting to the row, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said; "permission was given but there are security issues. Police had said chopper(Amit Shah's)should land at some other place, I also change my chopper's landing on police request. We granted permission for meeting as we believe in democracy. They are distorting information and misleading people".
Hitting out at the West Bengal government, Union Minister Piyush Goyal had claimed that it "is trying to block every programme of Amit Shah be it a rally, yatra or the landing of his chopper". It showed that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was "scared" of his party's growing influence in the state, he said.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier accused Banerjee of “abusing her power” to block Shah’s helicopter from landing in Malda and using “falsehood” to deny permission.
“At same helipad, Mamata ji’s helicopter landed a few days ago. Some journalists went there, I have pictures, it is neat & clean. Helicopters are landing and can land. Based on baseless falsehood, by abuse of government power, the helicopter of Amit Shah ji had been denied permission,” Prasad said, according to ANI.
The district administration of Malda had earlier said the permission to land a helicopter on the ground opposite the Hotel Golden Park, where the aircraft of chief minister Banerjee also lands, will not be possible as the airport was being renovated and that construction material was lying on the runway.
“Moreover, the temporary helipad is not maintained properly due to this ongoing construction work. In this situation, Malda Airport is not suitable for safe landing of helicopters. Hence, granting of permission [for Amit Shah’s chopper] is not possible,” the letter on January 18 said.
The local unit of the BJP, however, pointed out that it already being used by the state government.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress contested the BJP's claims and said that the saffron party was "peddling lies" after the "huge success" of the Opposition rally in West Bengal.
TMC leader Derek O'Brien said that the allegations were "hilarious".
In a series of tweets, the Trinamool MP said that he had asked his interns to run a "fact check" on Goyal's statements.
"Just asked two interns to run a #FactCheck on the Rail Mantri’s press conference on #Bangla Hilarious!
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"FactCheck #19 After huge success of #UnitedIndiaAtBrigade rally @BJP4India peddling lies. CLAIM: Mamata Banerjee's helicopter landed at the Malda helipad a few days ago FACT: Mamata Banerjee last visited Malda in May, 2018," he tweeted.
"#FactCheck #20 After huge success of #UnitedIndiaAtBrigade rally @BJP4India peddling lies. CLAIM: State Govt didn't allow BJP to hold Rath Yatra FACT: Matter was taken up in the Supreme Court. SC said State Govt's apprehension of violence during the Yatra was not unfounded," he tweeted.
Shah, who has just recovered from swine flu, is scheduled to address a rally in Malda on Tuesday. The next day he will address rallies in Jhargram and Birbhum districts
Both the TMC and BJP are already at loggerheads over the opposition party’s planned rath yatras in the state.
The Supreme Court allowed the BJP to hold the rallies across the state even as it denied permission to the party to hold rath yatras after the Mamata Banerjee-led government raised objections citing law and order issues.
(With agency inputs)