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Rowdy MP or rude 'glorified driver'?
Abdul Wahab’s statement glorified drivers to Rajat Rana started quite a row. But he at least disembarked from the aircraft to avoid more delay. And here some rowdies held Rajdhani Express throwing bonafide passengers out because, “I am Parliament”!
PV ABDUL Wahab is a wealthy entrepreneur of Kerala, having extensive business contacts with several Sheikhs in the Persian Gulf region as well as with expert businessmen from the state, with interests in real estate, shipping and hospitality. He also happens to be a ’honourable’ MP in the Rajya Sabha, representing Indian Union Muslim League. Despite these ’credentials’, which most ordinary citizens of India have come to despise, Wahab is considered to be a fine gentleman.
He can be said to be an antithesis of the boisterous parliamentarians of the Yadav, Jha or Thakur clans. Unlike the worthies behaving like uncrowned kings (and queens) of whole of India, ranking much above ordinary mortals paying with their own money for food, stay, travel etc, Wahab has a record of using his position and his substantial wealth for social welfare activities. He has generated thousands of jobs in the malabar region for Keralites, whose State is bereft of industrialisation and employment opportunities, thanks to leftist gangs.
Earlier this week, the MP made news for all the wrong reasons. The frequent flier had to get off from an Indian Airlines flight between Kozhikode and Kochi after a tiff with the flight captain Rajat Rana. Wahab was with his wife and was to fly to Dubai. Offloaded from the IA flight, he was subsequently put on an Air India direct flight from Kozhikode to Dubai and had to miss his engagement at Kochi.
The take off of the flight, which had come in from Bahrain after losing 20 minutes was delayed further; the MP and his wife turned up past the scheduled departure time. The pilot got angry at the cumulative delay stretching further and summoned the local airport manager. The manager entered the aircraft with the VIP and reportedly reprimanded the pilot that the passenger was an MP. Rana told him bluntly, "In that case, let him run country; not the airline!" Wahab intervened on behalf of the manager and blurted out that he (the Captain) was just a glorified driver. Rana got offended at the MP’s behaviour and told the manager that he would not command the plane with the arrogant VIP onboard.
According to Wahab, he had reached "well on time" to catch the flight that was running 20 minutes late from Bahrain. He declared, "I was at the airport by 7:55 am for the flight, which was scheduled to leave Kozhikode at 8:55 am. I was well in time when I took the boarding pass. The flight had not even landed. It was delayed coming from Bahrain." But the MP did admit that he "got a little late" while being taken from the VIP lounge at the airport to the aircraft. As Rana got into an argument with the duty manager who was accompanying the MP, Wahab tried to intervene. The pilot told him that it was none of his business. That was when the VIP lost his temper and expressed his opinion about airline pilots being ’glorified drivers’.
The MP being paid obeisance by sycophants among the airport staff in the VIP lounge while the passenger-laden flight was getting delayed has not amused the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA). ICPA spokesperson Vikram Yadav said the association was fully behind the pilot, who was only doing his duty. The pilots have been further enraged at Wahab’s statement threatening to move a privilege motion against the pilot. "Whatever the captain has done is within his right. The honourable MP has violated the Indian aircraft rules of 1973. Flight was delayed and passengers were putting pressure. The captain only went to ask why the delay. Meanwhile the MP forcefully entered the cockpit, which is against safety and has become a security threat for us," Kapil Raina, ICPA president, declared.
A wag quipped that the VIP only betrayed his lack of respect for work ethics by telling the pilot that he was ’just’ a glorified driver: "Does he think a driver’s job is a mean one, deserving no respect? Well, if Rana was a glorified driver, aren’t our MPs glorified parasites?"
To the credit of the MP, it must be said that he found it prudent to disembark from the aircraft, without creating a bigger ruckus, when he apparently found that counterproductive. What a contrast with the rowdies holding up Rajdhani Express and throwing bona fide passengers out to accommodate their underlings, because "I am Parliament!"
Kozhikode airport manager, Srinivasan Rajachandrasekhar, is supposed to be initiating an investigation into the incident. But, the main culprit of the unpleasant episode must be clear to everyone. It is the sycophancy of the airport staff that must be blamed. The only remedy to stem such ugly incidents is to let the creeping crawlies of Airports Authority of India (AAI) not to sabotage privatisation of airports.
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