New Delhi: On meeting Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister DV Sadananda Gowda said that it is Bengaluru that contributes to half of aerospace manufacturing in India and they will have to build the infrastructure necessary to host an event of this scale in Bengaluru.
While talking to the media, Gowda said: “I will request the defence minister to drop the move. It will be all the more embarrassing because the defence minister represents Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha.”
The five-day air show is held once every two years at IAF-run Yelahanka airbase in Gowda’s Lok Sabha constituency of Bengaluru North. Last year’s event drew about five lakh visitors, and about one lakh of them were business visitors.
“It is Bengaluru which contributes to half of aerospace manufacturing in India. We have built the infrastructure necessary to host an event of this scale in Bengaluru,” said Gowda. “The show also benefited the state in terms of tourism. If need be, we will also meet the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter,” he said.
Karnataka’s ruling JD(S)-Congress have erupted in anger over reports of the move to pull the two-decade-old event out of Bengaluru. UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath is lobbying hard with the Centre to have the premier show in his state, arguing that it will boost defence production there. The event may also be advanced to October or November, according to reports, instead of February 2019. The Congress is viewing the NDA regime’s moves as a political gimmick by the BJP to woo UP voters as the Lok Sabha polls are less than a year away.