Amid public outrage, the government today said a demand by parliamentarians for special privileges from private airlines and airports will not be sanctioned.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh denied that private airlines had been asked to offer MPs privileges like free snacks, use of VIP lounges, priority clearances and a protocol officer. Many of these privileges are already granted to MPs when they use the government’s Air India.
The MPs’ unabashed demand for khaas aami treatment was discussed by a parliamentary panel in December and sent to the civil aviation regulator or DGCA. But Mr. Singh told that no guidelines were issued.
Their wish-list comes at a time Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are drawing huge public support for refusing the VIP privileges that are usually bestowed upon and eagerly exercised by politicians.
“To be demanding special privileges for ‘VIPs’ in this political atmosphere takes a special kind of disconnect with reality,” tweeted Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
Union Minister Praful Patel, who headed the Civil Aviation Ministry earlier, said if an MP “is given a little respect, I don’t think this should be blown out of proportion.”
“There is nothing to suggest that there is preferential treatment beyond the point that certain courtesies are extended. Every carrier extends courtesies to Commercially Important Persons, along with VIPs,” he added.