Panaji, July 3 (IANS) The controversy surrounding BJP President Amit Shah’s meeting at Goa’s Dabolim Airport touched a higher pitch on Monday, with a top airport official confirming that no permission was granted to the party to hold a rally in the facility’s premises.
Bharatiya Janata Party state President Vinay Tendulkar told reporters that a crowd of party workers and others had gathered “spontaneously” at the airport because of Shah’s presence and that no permissions were required for an informal gathering.
“Amit Shah was in Goa and people converged spontaneously to welcome him. He came with a delegation and those who had alighted from the flight also stayed back at the airport. People often stop to see a leader of such a stature,” Tendulkar said.
The BJP leader also accused the Congress of staging a gherao of Dabolim Airport Director B.C. Negi earlier in the day for the sake of publicity.
Earlier, Negi, who was gheraoed by a Congress delegation led by All India Congress Committee Secretary Girish Chodankar, had said that no permission was granted for a BJP rally at the airport premises in honour of Shah.
“No permissions were given… I will inquire into it,” Negi said.
The Dabolim International Airport, the only airport in Goa, is located on an Indian Naval Base, INS Hansa, and functions under the aegis of the Defence Ministry.
Chodankar demanded an explanaton on how the BJP was allowed to host a party meeting on Saturday at the Dabolim International Airport premises, located 40 km from Panaji. The meeting was attended by around 2,500 BJP workers.
A complaint was filed against Shah on Sunday by a lawyer, alleging that the meeting was held without any permission.
Chodankar, who led the protest at the Airport Director’s office, said that holding a meeting at a sensitive installation like an airport showed clear abuse of power by the BJP.
“Now that the Airport Director has said that no permissions were given for the party meeting at the airport, action should be taken against the BJP and Shah for the audacity with which they held the function at a vital installation.
“It is a clear case of abuse of power,” Chodankar told reporters after the protest.