Gujarat farmer denies nod for landing of Hardik Patel’s helicopter on his land

New Delhi: A farmer in Mahisagar district of Gujarat did not allow his land to be used as a helipad for Hardik Patel’s chopper, forcing the Congress leader to cancel his helicopter ride to Lunawada town at the last moment. Patel had to later travel by road to Lunawada, around 100km from Ahmedabad, to address an election rally.

The helicopter ride of Patel, who joined the Congress party last month, to Lunawada got into trouble after a farmer, Vinay Patel, went back on his permission to allow the chopper to land on his private field, PTI quoted an official as saying. Patel was to address an election rally for Congress Panchmahal Lok Sabha candidate Vechatbhai Khant.

Vinay Patel sounded upset with Hardik Patel, saying he is “playing politics on the bodies of those who died” during the Patidar reservation agitation.

“Hardik was to attend an election rally at 5 pm Thursday at Lunawada and two days ago permission was granted for his helicopter to land at a private land.

“But the owner of the private land on which the temporary helipad was to be constructed for the chopper to land declined (permission) at the last moment,” said resident additional collector R R Thakkar.

Since the permission to land his helicopter was cancelled, Hardik Patel travelled to the town by road to address the rally, Thakkar said.

Vinay Patel claimed permission for the helicopter’s landing was sought from district authorities here by a local Congress leader without his knowledge.

“On April 16, local Congress leader Suresh Patel had sought permission (from authorities) for a helipad without my knowledge. When I learnt that he was given permission, I raised objection after which action was taken,” he said.

“I know Hardik, the Patidar leader from our community, and I know who he is. I object to him putting foot on my land because he is doing politics on the dead bodies of 14 Patidar youths (killed during the quota agitation),” he said.

Hardik Patel, 25, who led the Patidar reservation stir in Gujarat since 2015 and joined the Congress last month, has emerged as a star campaigner for the opposition party, criss- crossing the state in a helicopter to address poll rallies.

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