In a letter dated October 18, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has complained to the Election Commission about its star campaigners being denied permission to fly during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Maharashtra on October 17. The PM addressed rallies in Parli, Satara and Pune on that day. It alleged that helicopters carrying Lok Sabha Member of Parliament Amol Kolhe and another leader Amol Mitkari were denied flying permission. Owing to this, Kolhe could not hold his rallies in Pune, while Mitkari was stuck in the Sindkheda constituency in Dhule. In a video posted on the microblogging website Twitter, Kolhe questioned the move by observing that the PM had come only to campaign for a political party. Furthermore, he claimed that this was against democratic norms.
देशाचे पंतप्रधान @narendramodi जर एका पक्षाच्या प्रचारासाठी येत असतील तर त्यांच्या प्रोटोकॉलमुळे इतर पक्षांना प्रचारापासून वंचित ठेवणं कितपत बरोबर आहे? हे लोकशाहीच्या मुल्यांना किती धरून आहे? - @kolhe_amol @PMOIndia @BJP4India @BJP4Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/sf4ezUqOK3— NCP (@NCPspeaks) October 17, 2019
The NCP contended that the cancellation of rallies led to huge losses to the party. It also asked the EC to act against the people who denied the airspace permission.
The letter read, “We are not aware that the ruling party and the Prime Minister of the country have different set of rules for air operations. During his tour, our star campaigners were denied permission on two occasions.” It added, “If there is no such law, we request you to take strict action against persons and respective authorities who deliberately cancelled tours of NCP’s star campaigners.”
State Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, along with bypolls in several other states were announced in September. The total strength of the Maharashtra Assembly is 288, out of which 9 seats are reserved for SC and 5 for the ST category. In total, Maharashtra has 8.94 crore registered voters, out of which 1.16 lakh are service voters. While the voting will take place on October 21, the results will be declared on October 24. According to the Republic-Jan Ki Baat Opinion poll, the NCP is expected to secure only 27 to 29 seats as against the BJP which is projected to get 142 to 147 seats.