A day after a BJP reception to party chief Amit Shah at Goa’s Dabolim airport, a Goa resident has complained to the civil aviation ministry seeking that it be treated as an “unlawful assembly”. The airport is a civil airport operating out of military airbase INS Hansa.
BJP leaders from Goa, including Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, had received Shah Saturday and escorted him to a makeshift podium where he spoke for 15 minutes praising GST, before the makeshift arrangements were packed up. BJP sources say that this being Shah’s first public address after the GST launch, “an immediate plan was made… This had to be an iconic setting”.
In his letter, Aires Rodrigues, a high court advocate, wrote that a “carpeted podium, a dozen chairs for the dignitaries and sound system was all set up at the entrance… Amit Shah arrived at 11.15 am and addressed the public meeting with the airport and police officials conveniently looking the other way while the law was blatantly breached”.
Rodrigues called it an unlawful assembly as “it’s total mischief and inconvenience” to people. “I will move the court and take the complaint to its logical conclusion,” Rodrigues said. “This has happened nowhere in the country before…. We saw ourselves how the airport was brought to a standstill in those crucial hours.”
Girish Chodonkar, AICC secretary, called it “complete abuse of power by the power-intoxicated BJP” and called for an inquiry into the permission taken. AAP too criticised the event. The Indian Express could not get a comment from airport officials despite repeated attempts.
“Look, we had taken permission. The sound system too was accounted for and the collector gave us permission,” BJP general secretary Sadanand Shet Tanavade said. “Besides, it is not inside the airport. All legal formalities were dealt with. Who is anyone to ask for the permission letters? Also why should we show anything to anyone or Opposition?” South Goa MP Narendra Sawaikar didn’t want to comment. “I have no idea and let me find the facts myself.”