Sushma cries foul after being denied landing rights

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Old 11-Apr-2011
Sushma cries foul after being denied landing rights

New Delhi: "Really not fair" is how BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Sunday tweeted her ire over her chopper being denied landing permission in Palakkad in Kerala because of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's flight at the same time.

Swaraj, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, had to cancel her air travel to Palakkad from Kochi airport on Saturday on account of the VIP movement. She instead went by road but couldn't make it to her destination on time, forcing her to call off her plan to address an election rally at Edappal in Malappuram district.

"Sorry, I could not address my meeting at Edappal-Thavnoor yesterday [Saturday] because helicopter coming for me from TVM [Thiruvananthapuram] to Kochi was not allowed to land," she tweeted a day later.

She said the "reason given was that [the] PM was to arrive in Kochi. I travelled to Trichur by road and could not reach Edappal. In elections, there is ltd [limited] time for campaign."

Back to square one

Angry over the whole episode, Swaraj wrote: "And if the procedure is that when [the] PM is to arrive, the leader of opposition's helicopter cannot land that is really not fair."

Her helicopter, which took off from Thiruvanathapuram airport by 11am on Saturday to Kochi had to return to the tarmac after the Airport Authority of India asked the pilot to fly at a higher altitude.

But the pilot, according to official sources, refused due to technical reasons. The authority gave the direction as Manmohan Singh's plane was flying over the Kollam-Kottayam region at the same altitude.

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