Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PM Narendra Modi’s seaplane jaunt hits political air pocket

New Delhi: Controversy hit the last day of campaigning in Gujarat with questions being raised about a possible breach of security protocol over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s seaplane ride that the PM had planned as an impressive finale to his election campaign in his home state.

Soon after Mr Modi took off from Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad, and touched down at the Dharoi dam in Mehsana district, covering a distance of 180 km in 35 minutes, Opposition parties, including National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi, took pot-shots at the PM over his seaplane ride. 

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister took to Twitter to ask why security guidelines were relaxed for Mr Modi. “How is it that the security guidelines were relaxed for this flight? No Z+ protectee is allowed to fly in a single engine aircraft, much less the PM of our country,” he asked.

Sources in the civil aviation ministry said the single-engine seaplane used by Mr Modi on Tuesday belongs to a Japanese company Setouchi Holdings and was used by low cost carrier SpiceJet to carry out seaplane trials last Saturday at Mumbai’s Girgaum Chowpatty. The security rule-book says the Prime Minister can only fly in twin or multi-engine aircraft.

Congress president-elect Mr Gandhi said there was nothing wrong if Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to fly in a seaplane, but it was a mere distraction from the fact that the BJP had done little for the people of Gujarat in the last 22 years. Mr Modi and chief minister Vijay Rupani had initiated one-sided development in Gujarat for the benefit five-ten people, he charged.
13/12/17 Asian Age