Akhilesh Yadav accused BJP after helicopter held up
Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party (SP), said on Friday that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) conspiracy caused his chopper to be held up at Delhi airport and prevented him from flying to an electoral event in Muzaffarnagar, an allegation denied by the ruling party and airport officials.
On Friday morning, Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a photo of himself standing on the tarmac in New Delhi, with the chopper and crew in the backdrop.
From the tarmac in New Delhi on Friday morning, Yadav posted a picture of him standing with the helicopter and crew in the background, and tweeted in Hindi, “My helicopter has been stopped in Delhi without any reason. It is not being allowed to go to Muzaffarnagar, while a top BJP leader has just flown from here. This is a desperate conspiracy of the losing BJP. People are understanding everything”
Yadav and his coalition partner, RLD chairman Jayant Chaudhary, were set to speak at a joint press conference in Muzaffarnagar, around 130 kilometers from Delhi, ahead of the first phase of UP elections on February 10.
Half an hour later, Yadav said he got permission to fly. “Abuse of power is a sign of people losing…this day will also be recorded in the history of socialist struggle! We are going to take a historic flight of victory…,” he said.
A Delhi airport official later told news agency ANI that his helicopter was delayed due to high air traffic. “Akhilesh Yadav’s chopper was not granted permission by Air Traffic Control (ATC) to fly initially because of high air traffic. After the clearance was given, the chopper had less fuel. After refueling, the chopper flew to the destination,” said the official.
The BJP dismissed the allegation. “None needs to stop you, Akhilesh Ji. People are ready to stop you as they did in the 2014, 2017, and 2019 polls. Stop this drama and brace for March 10 when people will make you see the reality,” said deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Yadav had not been beyond Lucknow for an election since January 14, when police filed a First Information Report (FIR) and the Election Commission of India (ECI) issued a notice to the SP for violating the poll watchdog’s ban on physical events. Yadav had addressed a “virtual gathering” in front of 2,000 people, along with numerous renegade BJP ministers.
Yadav took a private plane from Lucknow’s Amausi airport to Delhi around 10:30 a.m. At 11:45 p.m., he arrived at the Delhi airport. He was supposed to travel for Muzaffarnagar about 12:15 p.m. from there. He finally left at 2.30 p.m. and arrived in Muzaffarnagar at 3.10 p.m., two hours late.
Later in the evening, Yadav said he hoped ECI would look into the incident. “If someone has to go for a rally, how will they work if their chopper is stopped for so long…seems like BJP will do anything before polls,” he added.
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