The Congress on Friday has condemned the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for “resorting to cheap” and “unconstitutional” methods against the Opposition when the Darjeeling district administration denied permission for the landing of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's helicopter in Siliguri, who was scheduled to address a public meeting Sunday.
“Such disdain shown by the local administration towards our party president as well as star campaigner Rahul Gandhi clearly shows that the Trinamool and its Supremo is scared and resorting to such cheap and unconstitutional methods against her opponents,” said senior Congress leader and party`s Darjeeling Lok Sabha candidate Shankar Malakar.
“Due permission was sought via the official app, for a program of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, but permission was denied for his helicopter to land on the April 14, even when the permission for the actual venue of the meet was already given on April 7," he told news agency ANI. It is not easy to reschedule visit of a SPG protected leader, Malakar said.
Siliguri Police Commissioner BL Meena said that the Congress had sought permission for landing a helicopter at police ground which was denied. “We had denied permission for that specific ground. There are some rules due to which it was not allowed. But they didn't come up with any alternative venue," Meena said.
While Malakar claimed that papers for Rahul's chopper landing were submitted on time, sources in the party indicated that not all members of state's party unit were aware of Rahul's rally in Siliguri.
“I can't say whether or not a rally is going to be held. Please don't ask me this question,” said state Congress president Somen Mitra. As of now, no new dates had been obtained for Rahul Gandhi`s rally in Darjeeling, where the polling is set to take place on April 18.
The state government allowed Rahul Gandhi to take road routes to Siliguri but they were not allowed a direct landing in the area.
The seven-phased Lok Sabha election will end on May 19. The result will be announced on May 23.