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Modi wants ‘umpire’ EC to probe flight delay

Wednesday, 02 April 2014 | PNS | Bareilly/Rewa
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Made to wait for hours at the Delhi airport for flight clearance to his helicopter, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Tuesday saw a “conspiracy” behind the delay and

demanded that the Election Commission probe the matter.

The three-hour delay upset the schedules of a series of rallies Modi addressed during the day in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.  

Soon after Modi’s outburst against the Centre, the BJP approached the Election Commission (EC) and sought directions to Civil Aviation authorities for early clearances to his flights.

Addressing a rally in Bareilly, Modi said: “I apologise to you for arriving late as you had to sit in this heat. But this delay was not because of me. I was waiting at the Delhi airport from 9.30 am onwards but our helicopter was not being given the permission to fly.”

However, aviation authorities told news agency PTI that Modi’s aircraft did not have the air defence clearances needed to land at the Air Force station in Bareilly. Aviation sources explained that Bareilly airport was under the Indian Air Force and hence all civilian aircraft required air defence clearances, which his aircraft did not have.

They also said that the Ahmedabad-based private charter company had filed the flight plans just minutes before actual take off time, which caused the delay.

Due to this, Air Traffic Control was not clearing the flights as the instruction did not reach them in time for the aircraft to take off on schedule, the sources said.

Addressing another  election rally in Rewa in MP, where he reached nearly four hours behind schedule, Modi said if the UPA Government was so scared of him, it should declare that it would not let him fly during this election.

Modi said that the EC was the “umpire” in the ongoing electoral contest so it should ensure that all political parties are treated the same. “As the EC is the umpire, I request it to find out who conspired to delay my helicopter by three hours. All political parties should have a level playing field,” he said.

Apparently holding the UPA Government responsible for the delays, an angry Modi said that his “helicopter may or may not take-off but the Government at the Centre will definitely be sent packing.” The BJP leader said that he was upset as the delays caused inconvenience to the people who came to his rallies.

 

The BJP urged the EC to launch a probe into the alleged delay in giving flying permission to Modi’s chopper and said that it was the Government’s responsibility to ensure that star campaigners of all parties were not inconvenienced in this way.

The party said that it will be in bad taste if the delay had been deliberately caused to upset Modi’s programme.

 
 
 
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