Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajpathi Raju a senior TDP leader, which is ally of BJP fell foul on two counts. First he is flouting airline safety norms with reckless impunity and secondly when the atmosphere is so charged with the anti tobacco and anti smoking campaign he is boasting about being a ‘chain smoker’ . In doing so he has demonstrated the perfect abuse of VIP culture, against which a crusade is being carried on by some TV channels. Yesterday, he arrogantly admitting that “since I assumed charge as Minister, I am not being frisked and since I am also a chain smoker I carry my match box with me on flights though it is against security rules. Tell me of a case where a plane has been hijacked using a match box or a lighter?” Asks Raju.
And this is not ANY Minister – he is the aviation Minister and should be the first one to follow airline rules and advocate them to others too! Tomorrow – since he is self confessed chain smoker – he may want to light up a cigarette/ bidi on a long flight. Who dare stop him? Secondly when a war is waging over how injurious tobacco really is, for a Minister to publicly proclaim that he is a chain smoker, doesn’t quite cut it, we think.