Karnataka on Monday, August 13 sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the biennial Aero India air show is held in this tech hub in February 2019, as over the past two decades.
"I seek your indulgence for conducting the 12th edition of Aero India-2019 in Bengaluru, where the mega event was held successfully for 11 times biennially since 1996," said state Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in a letter to Modi.
The letter was written following media reports that the Defence Ministry was planning to shift the upcoming air show to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the general elections in mid-2019.
"As the hub of defence and aerospace majors in the country, Bengaluru is the most suitable place to conduct Asia's premier air show, as evident from the huge response the event got from the world over in the last 22 years," pointed out the letter.
The five-day air show has been held in February of alternate year at the Yelahanka air base of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the city's northern suburb.
In the 11th edition, held on February 14-18, 2017, 549 global and Indian firms from 51 countries participated.
"Bengaluru has become synonymous with the air show for which the Defence Ministry and the state government had invested in upgrading infrastructure, including the air base, roads, highways and public amenities," said the letter. The Chief Minister also assured Modi that the state government would ensure all assistance to the Defence Ministry in holding the next air show in the city.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also urged the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman not to shift the air show, saying that this would “deepen the wound caused by the recent exit of many defence projects under BJP”, and cited the example of the exit of the Rafale fighter jet project from Karnataka-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Meanwhile, BJP's state unit President BS Yeddyurappa said he would do his best to ensure the air show was not moved of Bengaluru.
"No decision has been taken to shift Aero India to Uttar Pradesh. The Defence Minister (Nirmala Sitaraman) said several states, including Uttar Pradesh, was asking to give them an opportunity to host the event," said Yeddyurappa in a statement here.
There is no move to shift "Aero India 2019" from Bengaluru to Lucknow, as clarified by Defence Ministry officials, said Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar on Monday.
"I have spoken to (Defence Minister) Nirmala Sitharaman, who has confirmed the same —no decision on shifting Aero India 2019 venue out of Bengaluru to Lucknow," said Kumar in a tweet.
Kumar is a six-time Lok Sabha member from Bengaluru South constituency, while Sitharaman is a Raya Sabha member from Karnataka.
"There were similar rumours last time too, which were proved to be unfounded," added Kumar, referring to media reports then that the 2017 air show would be shifted to Goa, from where former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar hailed.