Politics

Arunachal: Congress Alleges Kiren Rijiju Used Indian Air Force Helicopters for BJP Events

The state’s Congress unit has written to the Prime Minister’s Office demanding a probe into “misuse of government machineries” by the Union minister of state for home.

Kiren Rijiju at a BJP rally in Arunachal's Tali. Credit: Twitter/@KirenRijiju

Kiren Rijiju at a BJP rally in Arunachal’s Tali. Credit: Twitter/@KirenRijiju

New Delhi: The Arunachal Pradesh unit of the Congress party has written a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) demanding immediate investigation into “misuse of government machineries” by Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju during his visits to the state.

Stating this at a press meet held in Itanagar on October 31, the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Takam Sanjoy reportedly said the party has sought a probe into the matter – specifically into chartering of Indian Air Force helicopters mostly for BJP rallies and party meetings instead of government events.

According to a report in The Arunachal Times, Sanjoy particularly cited a ‘BJP Maha Rally’ held on October 30 at Tali circle in the state’s Kra Daadi district which was attended by both Rijiju and state chief minister Pema Khandu. Sanjoy alleged that Rijiju used an IAF helicopter to attend the party meeting.

Speaking to The Wire from Itanagar, Sanjoy said, “This is a serious matter. While the PM talks about ethics and a corruption-free government, his own minister is misusing government machinery. A party event can’t be funded by public exchequer. If the PM is serious about delivering achhe din, he should form a committee to inquire how many times Rijiju has misused his official position in this regard.”

The APCC president further said at the press event that “Rijiju has violated the government of India guidelines and norms many times in the name of ‘official purpose’. We have written a letter to the PMO because this is absolutely against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of a ‘corruption-free government’ in the country. Such falsified activity of the MoS home and the state chief minister has negated his government’s policy of ‘achhe din‘.”

One of the remotest corners of the state, Tali has no proper road connectivity. “The minister could have hired a private helicopter instead of using government machineries for the party’s activities,” Sanjoy added.

A former Congress MP, Sanjoy lost the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to Rijiju from the state’s Arunachal West constituency. Rijiju, who left the BJP after losing the Lok Sabha polls in 2009, had thereafter joined the Congress. He returned to the BJP just before the 2014 elections.

Rijiju responds

In a series of tweets on Thursday evening, Rijiju strongly denied the allegations and noted that he used “home ministry helicopters” and not those belonging to the Indian Air Force.