BJP state president and former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa on Monday broke his silence over the possibility of Aero India being shifted away from Bengaluru for the first time since its inception. For the past 22 years, Aero India biennial air show and aviation exhibition has been held at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru.
“It is not yet decided whether the air show will be shifted to Uttar Pradesh or not. Defence Minister said people of Uttar Pradesh are asking for the air show but this is not yet decided. We will try our best to make sure that it is not shifted anywhere else,” Yeddyurappa said.
“Deputy CM and Water Resources Minister are in a responsible position and they should not comment before any final decision is taken. Rather than commenting, they should have convinced the Defence Minister when she was here a few days ago. Though UP has asked for it, we MPs will not allow the air show to be conducted anywhere else other than Bengaluru,” he told reporters when asked on the issue.
Although Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman or the Union government are yet to make a formal announcement over the matter, speculation is rife that the flagship aeronautical expo will be shifted to UP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next May.
There were reports indicating that the Uttar Pradesh government making preparations to host the event in Lucknow.
While the Congress and the JD(S) in Karnataka have been vocal against the event being shifted from Bengaluru, until Monday, the top brass of the BJP state leadership had chosen to keep mum on the issue.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had hit out at the BJP in the state over its silence on the issue.
CM Kumaraswamy on Sunday had said, “Our BJP friends in Karnataka must answer. We also requested the Defence Minister and told her that Bengaluru is the proper place for the Aero show event and we have all infrastructure in place as well.”
Last week, several leaders from Karnataka had written to the Defence Minister seeking that Aero India 2019 be held in Bengaluru.
Earlier, Deputy CM G Parameshwara had also tweeted, “Reports of #AeroIndia being moved out of Bengaluru are very unfortunate. We have been India's Defence Hub since Independence, but under the NDA we are constantly losing key defence projects and flagship programs. I request @nsitharaman to clarify her stand on the issue."
“Plan to snatch Aero India Show away from Bengaluru in favour of Lucknow is very unfortunate. We have been conducting it successfully since 1996. This comes after HAL was snubbed for Rafael deal. Centre seems to be keen on ending Bengaluru's dominance in the defence sector,” he added in another tweet.
Reports of #AeroIndia being moved out of Bengaluru are very unfortunate.— Dr. G Parameshwara (@DrParameshwara) August 11, 2018
We have been India's Defence Hub since Independence, but under the NDA we are constantly losing key defense projects and flagship programs.
I request @nsitharaman to clarify her stand on the issue.
Preparations for the expo typically begin a year in advance but with less than six months to go for the event, there is still no clarity yet on where the event will be held.