KOLKATA: Congress president Rahul Gandhi‘s helicopter was denied permission to land near Siliguri in north Bengal by the state police administration, forcing the cancellation of his campaign for the party’s Darjeeling candidate.

The state Congress unit has alleged that the ruling Trinamool government deliberately denied permission to prevent Rahul Gandhi from campaigning in the state after he hit out at Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee at a recent rally in Malda, reminding people that her party had joined hands with BJP in the past. His allegation was in response to Banerjee’s swipe that Congress and CPM were in truck with BJP in Bengal.

The police commissionerate in Siliguri had initially allowed Rahul Gandhi to hold a rally at Dagapur ground on the outskirts of Siliguri on March 14. But when on April 7 the local Congress unit applied for permission for Rahul Gandhi’s chopper to land at Mallaguri near Siliguri town, the police on Friday wrote back, denying permission. “A lot of cars are parked on the ground where Congress wanted to land the chopper. It was therefore not possible to give permission,” Siliguri police commissioner BL Meena said.

Incensed by the denial that forced the party to cancel its rally, Congress Darjeeling candidate Shankar Malakar alleged the Mamata Banerjee government had used police to deliberately foil Rahul Gandhi’s campaign and his attempt to reach out to voters in the belt.



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