In a major development over reports of the Aero India show's venue being shifted to Lucknow, Union Minister Ananth Kumar has said that the Aero India show will be held in Bengaluru. Speaking to media in Chamarajanagara on Monday, Aug 13 Kumar said that the show won't be shifted to Lucknow.
D.V Sadananda Gowda, Former Chief Minister of Karnataka and Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation in the Government of India said that he will hold a meeting with concerned officials in Delhi tomorrow. "I am confident of hostig the next Aero show in Bengaluru," Gowda said.
Earlier in the day, Bengaluru Mayor Sampath Raj wrote a letter to Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman requesting her to not shift the Aero India Show's venue from Bengaluru to Lucknow.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council also held a meeting this morning to discuss the issue. According to sources, it was almost confirmed that the show will be shifted to the Uttar Pradesh capital and that the state government has already started preparations for the Aero Show, as per local media house News 9.
Sources in the Airforce also said that the desginated venue on the outskirts of Lucknow, Bakshi ka Talaab does not have the required facilities to host the Aero show which has always been held at Yelahanka in Bengaluru since it was started in 1996.
The show, hosted by the Defence Ministry, has been Bengaluru's pride for over two decades and styles itself as the largest air show in Asia. Meanwhile, the National Students Union of India, the student wing of Congress has started a peaceful protest demanding that the show should be held in Bengaluru only. Several students took part in the signature campaign of the NSUI. According to reports, sources also informed that the show which is scheduled to be held in February 2019, is now being rescheduled to October 2018.
The defence ministry has been facing flak from the Karnataka government over the issue. Coming down heavily on the Centre, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy during the weekend said the Defense Ministry was changing the venue of the Aero show keeping the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in mind. "Aero India is synonymous with Bengaluru and our city has all the infrastructure required to host the show. Yet it is being shifted to Lucknow," the chief minister was quoted by the Hindu Business Line as saying. However, he confirmed that the neither the centre nor the defence ministry has yet officially communicated to the state government about shifting the venue for the event.
Reacting strongly on the matter, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said that Karnataka has been the defence hub of the country since independence but the state has constantly been losing key defence projects and flagship programs under the current NDA regime. Parameshwara had also asked defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to clear her stand on the issue.
The deputy chief minister's remarks came after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on Saturday requested Sitharaman to shift the venue of the show to Uttar Pradesh saying that the move would benefit the defence production in the state.
During his speech at an event in Aligarh, Adityanath said that his government will provide every facility needed to host the show and urged defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to announce the shfiting of venue as soon as possible so that his government could begin the preparations at the earliest.
The Aero India show requires a huge infrastructure and availability of ample airspace for flight displays and Bengaluru has always been the most suitable venue for the show given the fact that it plugs right into India's aerospace hub and is easily accessible internationally. And the fact that it has been the venue for the grand show for 22 years can't be ignored as well.
The Narendra Modi-led government had, in 2016, shifted the Defence Expo's venue from Delhi to Goa and then to Chennai this year citing reasons like the show needed to fuel defence interest and investments in other parts of the country too.