Lok Sabha Election: Private Helicopter Denied Permission For Sharad Pawar’s Travel Plans in Pune

Sharad Pawar
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Pune, 1st May 2024: A private helicopter, arranged for former Union Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP-SP) President Sharad Pawar, faced a setback on Tuesday as it was denied permission to fly from Velhe to Warje Malwadi. The incident unfolded amidst a flurry of political activities, with Pawar scheduled to address three consecutive poll meetings in Otur, Velhe, and Warje on the same day. Notably, Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray was also slated to attend the gathering in Warje.

The helicopter, enlisted to transport Pawar under the jurisdiction of the Indian Air Force (IAF), encountered an unexpected hurdle around 4 PM when permission for takeoff was abruptly denied. Pawar, left with no alternative, proceeded to his destination via road in a car.

In the wake of the incident, allegations of deliberate interference for political motives have surfaced, with NCP office-bearers and workers expressing dissatisfaction over the denied permission. The Maha Vikas Agahadi (MVA) had orchestrated a public rally for Baramati Lok Sabha constituency candidate Supriya Sule at the RMD College ground in Warje Malwadi, with Pawar, Thackeray, State Congress President Nana Patole, and senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat in attendance.

Organizers of the NCP (SP) Bhor-Velhe meeting voiced their grievances, stating, “The Otur public rally faced a three-hour delay. Today, a public rally was also scheduled in Velhe, from where our party president Sharad Pawar was slated to fly by helicopter to Warje. However, at 4 PM, permission was denied. Upon inquiry, officials cited denial by the Air Traffic Control (ATC).”

Despite the setback, arrangements were made to facilitate Pawar’s travel to the venue, with a four-wheeler arranged via Khadakwasla backwater route to ensure his presence at the Warje Malwadi rally ground.

Offering insights into the situation, an aviation expert, speaking on the condition of anonymity, cited possible reasons for the denied permission. “The ATC, governed by the Indian Air Force (IAF), may have attributed the denial to poor evening lighting conditions or high air traffic congestion,” the expert stated.