“I'm not terrorist,” Channi on permission getting cancelled to fly to Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar at last minute
Chandigarh, Feb 14: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday claimed that his chopper was not allowed to fly to Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar because areas were declared as no-fly zones amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the state.
Channi was to attend a poll rally along with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi at Hoshiarpur. Gandhi was to attend a second rally alone in Gurdaspur which he attended. PM Modi came to Jalandhar to address his first physical rally for the February 20 Punjab polls. Channi claimed that the permission given to his chopper to fly to Hoshiarpur from Chandigarh was cancelled.
Channi was to fly to Hoshiarpur in a chopper shortly after addressing a press conference in Chandigarh to attend a poll rally there with Rahul Gandhi. "I had to fly at 11 am and I sat in the chopper. Suddenly I was told that the permission (for flying) has been cancelled and I could not go there," the chief minister told reporters here.
"My four hours got wasted. I could not attend Rahul Gandhi's rally because the clearance was not given," he said. He added that he was denied permission to fly as the area was made no flying zone because of the PM's visit. Replying to a question, Channi claimed he had permission for flying and landing at Hoshiarpur which was later withdrawn.
"People know everything about what politics they are playing with me," he said. The CM later went to Sujanpur in Pathankot for an election-related programme. Channi, however, later complained that he was again denied permission to fly from Sujanpur to Jalandhar where he was to attend another poll-related programme. Then he travelled by road from Sujanpur to reach Jalandhar for attending a programme.
He told a TV channel separately that he was the state's chief minister and not a terrorist. "Why was I being stopped in such a way? What conspiracy is this? What politics is this?" he asked. He alleged that the reason for stopping him from flying was "purely political."
He said he had to travel through the road to reach Jalandhar. Notably, a month after he cut short his Punjab visit due to a security breach in Ferozepur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said in Jalandhar that he was unable to pay a visit to a temple there as local authorities could not make necessary arrangements.
"Such is the situation of the government in Punjab," the prime minister said addressing a poll rally in Jalandhar while attacking the Congress party. The Prime Minister said he would come to Jalandhar again and pay his obeisance at the Devi Talab Mandir.
Modi was addressing a poll rally in person in Jalandhar, his first in Punjab after January 5 when he had to return from the state without attending any event, including a public meeting, after his convoy got stuck on a flyover due to a blockade by protesters in Ferozepur. Recalling his 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign as the BJP's PM candidate, he said his plane was not allowed to fly as "the Congress' namdar and its yuvraj (prince), who was just an MP," had a programme near Amritsar.
"I got delayed by more than an hour in reaching Pathankot. When I reached Pathankot, my helicopter was not allowed to fly. Why? Because their yuvraj was visiting some other place in Punjab," Modi said in an apparent reference to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
"Such misuse of power used to happen for one family. In 2014, my helicopter could not fly after sunset. My two programmes in Himachal Pradesh at that time had to be cancelled. It has been the deeds of the Congress to stop its opponents. For the last 50 years, it has been doing this against its rivals," he said as he took a dig at the Gandhis. PTI