MPs are soft targets for media trial: Supriyo on VVIP culture

New Delhi [India], Apr. 7 (ANI): In the wake of the ongoing controversy over the VVIP culture, Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and BJP MP Babul Supriyo on Friday stated that MPs are being considered a 'soft target' for scrutiny by the media and general public alike.

Backing the political fraternity, Supriyo told ANI it is unfair for the media to relentlessly brand the MPs based on the privileges they are entitled to.

"Any person who becomes a Member of Parliament has worked very hard to earn that position. Therefore, any privilege we enjoy is purely based on seniority. We are also public servants, who work for development in the absence of a uniform. We have earned our position. It has not been gifted to us. Not all of us have become an MP through family connections," he said.

Supriyo, however, refused to comment on Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP Dola Sen, who delayed an Air India flight from Delhi to Kolkata by 39 minutes after refusing to abide by the security protocols.

He stated that it would be inappropriate to voice his opinion in the absence of complete information regarding the aforementioned incident.

"I would first like to know what exactly happened. Before that it is not advisable for me to say anything. Having said this, it is necessary for both MPs and the general public to make sure that security procedures are not disrupted, as this can cause inconvenience to the others," said Supriyo.

Congress leader Pradeep Bhattacharya on his part said it is incorrect to disobey the norms of airline security and stated that travelers should become more responsible.

"It is nobody's business to stop airline officials from performing their duties. As the people's representatives, the MPs must monitor their behavior and make sure they act more responsibly," he said.

According to Air India officials, the aforementioned flight AI 020 was delayed as Dola Sen's mother, who was travelling with the help of a wheelchair, could not be seated near the exit door as per the in-flight regulations. Due to this, the cabin crew requested for a change in seats, to which Sen was reluctant to abide by the norms.

An inquiry into the matter revealed that the TMC MP had paid an extra fee for front row seats, located near the emergency exit. However, the airline officials were not notified of any passenger requiring a wheelchair.

As per the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) rule, when the cabin crew on board requested the MP to change her seats, she allegedly raised her voice and refused to do so in spite of being offered business class seats.

The flight subsequently took off after the passengers on board and the Captain intervened to solve the matter.

This incident comes just days after Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad delayed an Air India flight for 45 minutes and even hit the staff of the national carrier over a seating arrangement issue.

Almost eight Air lines imposed a ban on Gaikwad for his unwarranted act. Air India, however, lifted the ban today after he apologised for the incident. (ANI)