Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 9:
Biju Janata Dal’s Lok Sabha MP from Odisha’s Dhenkanal– Tathagata Satpathy– yesterday resorted to a sit-in dharna in front of the gate of Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in New Delhi protesting against the alleged preferential treatment to VVIPs.
Satpathy reportedly blocked the entry of the passengers at the airport protesting the alleged privilege extended to a BJP minister from Bhopal and two judges.
Senior television journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, who was on his way from the national capital to the Temple City to attend some events here today, was to board the Air India flight last evening along with Tathagata Satpathy and others.
The journo tweeted the sequence of events that unfolded till late in the night and even posted the byte of the parliamentarian on the micro blogging site.
According to sources, an Air India flight to Bhopal was cancelled as the pilots refused to fly after their duty hours were over. Suddenly, an announcement came that Air India flight to Bhubaneswar was cancelled. However, the flight crew were reportedly recalled and asked to fly on the Bhopal flight giving rise to resentment among the travellers.
The VVIPs on-board the Bhopal flight allegedly rang up the managing director of the national carrier to do them a favour. In protest against this, the Odisha MP sat on a dharna against such move.
“One BJP min of state from MP and two judges on Bhopal flight. Is that reason enough for AI MD to ask pilots to move from one Flt to other?” Rajdeep tweeted post midnight.
The chaos at the airport continued till 2 am and finally the Bhubaneswar flight took off for its destination. The flight landed here at 4.30 am this morning.
“This is a very sad state of affairs with the way Air India is behaving. They first announced that they have cancelled the Bhopal flight. Just because there were some VIPs there, one BJP minister of the state and two judges… Now they are saying that Bhopal will go and Bhubaneswar will not go. It is very sad indeed,” BJD MP Tathagata Satapathy told Rajdeep in a video who shared it on twitter.
The MP and other co-passengers were hell-bent and sought AI to reverse its decision. Finally, the AI management gave in to the protest and the flight to Bhubaneswar scheduled to depart at 6.30 pm left at 2.30 am.
“Proud of fellow indians who are asking for judges and minister to leave the flight for misusing VIP privilege! Desh badlega!” Rajdeep posted on twitter.