Hobby politician Priyanka Gandhi is emulating her brother and his obnoxious antics when it comes to conducting her politics. Fresh off her ‘brooming’ escapades in Sitapur guest house — Priyanka during a public rally in Varanasi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for privatising loss-making national airline Air India. Following Rahul Gandhi’s political trope of ‘PM Modi-selling-country-to-his-rich-friends’, Priyanka hurled some baseless accusations using a similar line.
The General Secretary of Congress remarked that PM Modi bought two planes for his own use last year for Rs 16,000 crore and sold Air India to his billionaire friends for only Rs 18,000 crore. Meanwhile, she also added Ratan Tata to the list of ‘Modi’s billionaire friends’.
The two aircraft were purchased in the UPA era
Priyanka should also understand that the two modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, to replace the old Boeing 747 aircraft of Air India have been bought for the VVIPs like the PM and the President, which will be using it much after PM Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind retires. Rest assured, PM Modi will not be using it to make a trip to Gujarat after his tenure is over as the country’s PM. It’s no Augusta Westland chopper scam and that is what potentially might be hurting Priyanka.
However, what has touched Priyanka’s nerves is that Congress and its allies will not be able to use the loss-making airline for their profits. One of the closest aides of Priyanka, NCP’s Praful Patel has been at the centre of controversy in looting Air India.
Praful Patel, Priyanka’s close aide in the middle of the Air India loot
In fact, through Praful Patel, who was a minister from the NCP quota in the Manmohan Singh government, the Congress brought Air India to its knees. The matter caught fire when arrested broker and lobbyist Deepak Talwar revealed that he used his close proximity with Patel, the then Civil Aviation Minister to get the work done for his private clients.
The Enforcement Directorate in 2019 told a Delhi court that former Civil Aviation Minister “Mr Praful Patel is a dear friend” of Talwar who allegedly facilitated the dispersal of profit-making Air India routes to private airlines during 2008-09 using his “proximity to the minister and aviation personnel in India”.
The ED in its probe remarked, “The then Minister of Civil Aviation who happens to be Sh. Praful Patel was dear friend of Deepak Talwar and he used to meet him socially. Deepak Talwar also finalised various communications on behalf of Emirates to be sent to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA).”
The ED also told the court that the routes and timings that would benefit Air India were passed on to foreign airlines including Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Air Arabia. ED’s counsel AR Aditya confided in the court that due to this, the national airline suffered huge losses in the market while private domestic and foreign airlines understandably reaped rich dividends.
Thus when Priyanka tries to admonish PM Modi by calling his so-called billionaire friends, she is, in fact, channelling her inner pain for not being able to save her dear friend in Praful Patel that made Air India a perpetually flowing source of income for the Gandhi family. She has her private vested interests involved, much alike in the meteoric rise of her husband.