BJP wants Himachal campaigning to be extended

Shimla: Accusing the air traffic control (ATC) of being partial, Himachal Pradesh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Wednesday its leaders’ plans to campaign have been stymied because permission to fly helicopters was denied. The party has now asked Election Commission to extend campaigning by a day, till Nov 3.

Praveen Sharma

“The delay in granting permission by the ATC in the landing and take-off of helicopters of our leaders has resulted in loss of time. We have sought special permission from the Election Commission to campaign even Nov 3,” BJP spokesperson Praveen Sharma said in a statement here Wednesday. Elections are being held Nov 4.

He said the party has also lodged a complaint on the issue with the ATC, a wing of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

“ATC authorities are giving the plea that this has to be done due to the visit of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, but it’s affecting our campaign,” he said.

“No permission was granted yesterday (Tuesday) as Sonia Gandhi was campaigning in the state till 4 p.m.,” said Sharma told.

Sharma said BJP leaders Prem Kumar Dhumal, J.P. Nanda, Anurag Thakur and Smriti Irani could not travel by helicopter to campaign.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi visited Shimla and Kangra towns Tuesday, while her son Rahul Gandhi is visiting Bilaspur and Chamba districts Wednesday.

Polling for the 68 assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh will be held Nov 4. Votes will be counted Dec 20 after the Gujarat assembly polls are over.


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