On Sunday, Union minister for chemicals and fertilisers Ananth Kumar was here to attend various functions ranging from a cardiologists' seminar, a felicitation at the state BJP office to a religious programme at the CM House - the official residence of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. At the end of his one-day visit, Ananth Kumar took a chartered flight from Bhopal to Bangalore. Sources at the Raja Bhoj International Airport said Ananth Kumar flew out in a Simm Samm Airways small jet at 9:30 pm. Sources also said that two other Union ministers who also made short trips to the state recently took the chartered flight return trip.
In sharp contrast, however, was BJP national president Amit Shah who visited the state for a day. Shah landed in Indore airport by a regular morning flight on Saturday morning and headed to Mandleshwar, a distance of 80 kms by road, to meet bereaved family members of RSS functionary Bhiayyaji Joshi who lost his brother Gajanand on September 1. From there he travelled to the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain travelling for 132 km by road. In the evening, he was scheduled to return by the Mumbai-Bhopal-Delhi Indian Airlines flight.
The flight was delayed by two hours and the BJP national president waited in the airport VIP lounge meeting state party leaders there. The flight's scheduled arrival was at 3:30 pm but landed at 5:40 pm. It finally departed at 7:20 pm. BJP president Amit Shah had two tickets on the flight—one for himself and the other for his PA.
In mid-August, Amit Shah had asked party leaders to follow PM Modi's instructions of regular flights travel instead of chartered aircrafts. The party has decided to keep only one chartered plane which is to be used under emergency situations. When veteran leader LK Advani demanded a chartered flight for his travel last month, the party offered him a regular flight ticket.
When TOI asked state BJP spokesman Brijendra Singh Sisodiya why Union minister Ananth Kumar took the chartered flight despite strict party directions against it, he said, "I don't know if he travelled by chartered flight. The party gave him a routine flight ticket. I did not go to see him off at the airport but I think he took a regular flight."
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