Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asking him to ensure that the Aero India show be held in the state capital, as it has been since its inception in 1996.
Kumaraswamy’s letter comes in the wake of a furore following reports that the biennial air show was being shifted to Lucknow for its 12th edition. Many leaders of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government criticised the alleged move to shift Aero India, although there has been no formal announcement from the Centre in this regard.
In his letter, Kumaraswamy has said Bengaluru is the hub for defence and aviation majors in the country and the “most suitable place” to hold the show.
“Bengaluru, with its past experience in conducting the show successfully, with its beautiful weather conditions and favourably located defence and aviation industries would be the best choice to conduct Aero India show,” he said.
“Hence, I would seek your indulgence in the matter to convey approval of Government of India for conducting Aero India Show-2019 at Bengaluru,” he added.
State Bharatiya Janata Party leaders slammed the ruling coalition for creating a controversy where there is none.
Addressing the press in Gadag, BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa said: “Where has it been shifted? (Defence minister) Nirmala Sitharaman has clarified that Uttar Pradesh has requested it to be shifted but that no decision has been taken. Besides, all MPs from the state will ensure that it is not shifted.”
Criticising Congress and JD(S) leaders for jumping to conclusions, Yeddyurappa said state ministers should instead have tried to convince Sitharaman against the move. “It is true that Uttar Pradesh has requested for the change, but we will not allow that to happen,” he said.
Union minister DV Sadananda Gowda, too, said he was not aware of any such proposal. “I have only heard about these charges in the media. I will meet the defence minister on Tuesday and convince her against such a move, if at all it is being planned,” he said.
Over the past week, leaders of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance have criticised the Centre for allegedly proposing to move the show out of Bengaluru to Lucknow. Kumaraswamy and deputy chief minister G Parameshwara called the alleged move an electoral strategy.