Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy urged the Central government on Monday not to shift the Aero India event out of Bengaluru, reported PTI. Amid reports that the biennial air show and aviation exhibition may be shifted to Lucknow, Kumaraswamy wrote to the Centre that Bengaluru was the “most suitable” place to hold the event.

“Bengaluru being the hub for defence and aviation majors of the country, is certainly the most suitable place to conduct the show,” Kumaraswamy said in the letter. “Hence, I would seek your indulgence in the matter to convey approval of Government of India for conducting Aero India Show-2019 at Bengaluru.”

Earlier, many leaders of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in the state had criticised the move although there has been no formal announcement from the Centre. BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa criticised them for jumping to conclusions, reported the Hindustan Times. “Where has it been shifted?” he asked. “[Defence Minister] Nirmala Sitharaman has clarified that Uttar Pradesh has requested it to be shifted but that no decision has been taken. Besides, all MPs from the state will ensure that it is not shifted.”

Yeddyurappa added that while Uttar Pradesh had requested for the venue change, ministers from Karnataka should attempt to convince Sitharaman, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from the state, against the move. “We will try our best to make sure that it is not shifted anywhere else,” he said, according to The News Minute.

Union minister DV Sadananda Gowda said he had not heard any proposal to move the show and had only heard about it in the media, reported the Hindustan Times. “I will meet the defence minister on Tuesday and convince her against such a move, if at all it is being planned,” he said.

Kumaraswamy said the state has upgraded its infrastructure, such as roads, public amenities and smooth flow of traffic, for the event, reported PTI. “As chief minister of the state, it will be my bounden duty to ensure best possible assistance by Team Karnataka,” he added.

On Saturday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath asked Sitharaman to allow his state to host the Aero India show in October. “I request the defence minister to hold the Aero India show in UP this time,” Adityanath was quoted as saying. “I promise to provide all facilities and proper arrangement for the mega event. I request the defence minister to make the announcement in this regard soon.”

Responding to the comments, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara tweeted: “Reports of Aero India being moved out of Bengaluru are very unfortunate. We have been India’s defence hub since Independence, but under the National Democratic Alliance, we are constantly losing key defence projects and flagship programmes.”

Bengaluru has hosted Aero India, which is Asia’s biggest air show, since 1996 when it started.