Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was on Tuesday forced to change his travel plans in Assam when the IAF did not oblige his request for flying him in a helicopter from Kokrajhar to Guwahati citing bad weather. The Gandhi scion then returned to Guwahati by road.
However, rejecting reports that its pilot refused to fly Gandhi, the Indian Air Force yesterday strongly defended the decision, describing it as professional, which was taken in view of bad weather conditions and safety of the passenger.
“The weather started deteriorating at the time of the flight. There were reports of lightning and thunderstorm at the destination. Hence, the pilot decided not to fly,” said IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Gerard Gallway.
“There was no refusal. It was a professional decision and it was taken keeping in mind flight safety and the safety of the passenger, which was paramount,” he said. The IAF stands by its decision, he added.
In Assam, Gandhi met victims of ethnic violence in relief camps and talked to Bodoland Territorial Council leaders on the situation in the state.