11 May, 2021

Me And Mine In A Plane Of Our Own

For more and more politicians, the sign of big-time arrival is arrival by hired aircraft

S. Sudarshan
Me And Mine In A Plane Of Our Own

The much-publicised, opulent wedding of BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s son in Nagpur last fortnight saw as many as 30 aircraft being chartered to ferry guests for the three-day event. The fleet: two planes from Karnataka, an Airbus from Delhi with high-profile guests, private planes from Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. But it’s not Gadkari alone. The trend of politicians, across parties, using private aircraft and choppers has of late seen a huge increase. Once used mainly for election campaigns to save time and take netas to far-flung places, choppers and private planes are now routinely used by them for private trips—even to places well-connected by commercial flights.

A BJP leader puts this in perspective: “These days even small-time netas hire choppers and planes despite the option of commercial flights. Taking chartered aircraft has become a status symbol.” Venkaiah Naidu, for instance, took a chartered plane this June to attend a party function in Mumbai. He flew back to Delhi...

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