The Punjab civil aviation department has received bills of Rs 45 lakh for the private aircraft hired by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s political trip to Gujarat from April 1 to 3.
According to the reports, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had visited Gujarat along with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to launch their party’s campaign ahead of the assembly elections scheduled to be held in December.
RTI activist Harmilap Singh Grewal had sought details regarding the amount spent on Mann’s visits to Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. In response, the Punjab civil aviation department has disclosed that the department had received bills amounting to Rs 44,85,967 for the aircraft hired for the visit of the Punjab CM to Gujarat on his three-day trip.
Mann had also visited the hill state on April 6 in the state government helicopter. However, the RTI response said that the expenditure incurred on the individual visit of the helicopter could not be ascertained.
RTI activist Grewal attacked the Chief Minister saying before coming to power, Mann would mock then chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi for his helicopter use within Punjab, however, he is hiring a private jet for a visit to another state.
“His visit to Gujarat and Himachal were purely to campaign for the party and had nothing to do with the functioning of the state government or for the benefit of Punjab,” said Grewal, who was with the AAP but later quit the party. Grewal had contested as a Sanyukt Samaj Morcha candidate from Bathinda.
During his visit to Gujarat, Mann and Kejriwal had visited Sabarmati Ashram and had also taken out a roadshow in Ahmedabad. Gujarat and Himachal are scheduled to hold assembly elections later this year, and in both the states, AAP is eyeing to capture the opposition space vacated by the Congress party.