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Punjab CM claims he was stranded for an hour due to PM no fly zone

Punjab CM claims he was stranded for an hour due to PM no fly zone

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi claimed on Tuesday that he had been forced to wait an hour to fly out after a no-fly zone was enacted due to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jalandhar. This resulted in him missing the rally held by Rahul Gandhi, the furious CM claimed.

"Charanjit Channi is a Chief Minister, he's not a terrorist that you are stopping him from flying to Hoshiarpur! This is not the way," he was quoted as saying by NDTV. The helicopter ride scheduled for the Punjab CM was scheduled to fly from Chandigarh to Hoshiarpur, but due to the no-fly zone, he was denied permission to fly and eventually had to return home.

"I was in Una at 11 AN but suddenly permission to fly (to Hoshiarpur) was denied due to PM Modi's movement, it was declared a no-fly zone. I was not able to attend Rahul Gandhi's rally in Hoshiarpur. I had permission to land," Mr Channi was quoted as telling news agency ANI on what is quickly becoming a huge political row.

Though Chief Minister Channi was unable to fly to Hoshiarpur, Rahul Gandhi's chopper was allowed to land in the town.

Congress leader Sunil Jakhar said that it would be a "sham" if the Election Commission did not take note of the incident, stating that it was "shameful" that the incumbent CM was denied permission to fly out for his own campaigning purpose while the PM conducted his own poll-related activities.

The controversy harks back to the incident in January where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was held up at a flyover in Bathinda due to protests by farmers blocking the road. The PM eventually had to return without attending his scheduled rally, as members of the BJP accused the Channi-led Punjab government of creating a safety crisis for the PM.

PM Modi, who addressed a rally in Jalandhar in his first visit to Punjab since a security breach last month, referred to a similar hold-up in the past to target Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

"My name was announced for PM candidate. I had to visit Pathankot and Himachal to campaign. But my chopper was not allowed to fly because their yuvraj (Rahul Gandhi) was also in Amritsar. So the Congress has a habit of not allowing the opposition to work," PM Modi said at the rally.

"I wanted to visit Devi Ka Talab but the Punjab Police said it can't allow it due to security. This is the condition of security in Punjab," PM Modi remarked today, in what appeared to be a reference to that episode.

Punjab will vote on Sunday for a change of government in the assembly polls which have already begun in other states like Uttar Pradesh.

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TAGS:Narendra ModiControversyPunjab assembly pollsCharanjit Singh ChanniPM security breach
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