Robert Vadra's dig at VIP privileges on airports: Height of hypocrisy

April 22, 2015 14:58
Robert Vadra's dig at VIP privileges on airports: Height of hypocrisy

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra took an apparent dig at the Aviation Miniter Ashok Gajapathi for his comments on special privileges for "VIPs" at airports.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Vadra said, "I watched on the electronic media discussions again about my name being on a list for special privileges at airports in India. I'm glad that this formality has been removed as this was created without my consent, by the security agencies, only to be followed when I would be travelling with SPG protectees. My existing security are not allowed inside Airports."

Vadra's post followed the aviation minister's statement in Parliament on Monday that there was no proposal to curtail "VIP privileges" given to ministers and MPs, like a reserved lounge, free water and hot beverages. Responding to a raging national debate on the "VIP culture" and parliamentarians abusing and flaunting facilities provided at the taxpayer's cost, Raju clarified later that these were not privileges, "but courtesies."

He further added, "My children and I have always travelled like ordinary passengers, following all Rules and Norms of security checks, from removing of Coats, Belts, clearing bags, etc., like we would follow at any airport, world over. Cameras at every airport, is proof to the information given above and many passengers have mentioned this (on Twitter ) contradicting to the so called privilege that I claim to use."

"But the same Minister and so called (important people in the ruling government) clearly admit of breaking all security norms and talk of complete entitlement, of all privileges. Hypocrisy of the highest limits."

The issue of exemption of Vadra from frisking and checking at airport has been raised many times.

Vadra's reaction came a day after Government told Lok Sabha that MPs and other VIPs will continue to enjoy facilities like being served tea, coffee and water free of charge at airports besides free access to the terminal building as there was no move to scrap these privileges.

They will also have reserved lounge facilities at international and domestic terminals, Raju said in a written reply.

Enumerating the facilities extended to the MPs, Raju said the personal staff of the MPs get airport entry pass--one in New Delhi and another for an airport nearest to their constituencies.

Besides, an airport official is designated as Protocol Officer to ensure that these these facilities and courtesies are extended to MPs, Raju said, adding the protocol is to be followed by all concerned, including private airports and airlines.

- Manohar

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