‘Historic’ seaplane ride: PM Modi’s fondness for spectacle backfires

States like Maharashtra and Kerala, besides some Union territories in the country, have already introduced seaplane services to promote coastal tourism

PTI Photo
PTI Photo

Ashutosh Sharma

On the last day of campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while travelling in a seaplane from the Sabarmati river to Dharoi Dam in Mehsana district, did not exchange words with pilot Joan Gulay, except for telling him that “I am the Prime Minister.”

Hours after being denied permission by the authorities to conduct a roadshow in Ahmedabad in the last lap of Gujarat election campaign, Modi took to twitter on Monday and announced that he will travel via sea plane and offer prayers at Ambaji temple on Tuesday.

While his ministers like Dr. Jitendra Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Sadananda Gowda and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani labelled his seaplane ride as a “historic moment”, questions are being asked as to what point the Prime Minister was trying to make by riding a seaplane manufactured and flown by foreigners. On twitter many were quick to point out misrepresentation of facts surrounding the “historic” seaplane ride.

Nevertheless, the claims that a seaplane landed on a water body in the country for the first time are far from the truth. States like Maharashtra and Kerala besides some union territories in the country introduced seaplane services to promote coastal tourism many years ago.

The first seaplane service in the country was launched at the Juhu aerodrome in Mumbai in 2010 under UPA government. Named as Jal Hans, the amphibian plane runs in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Similarly, Kerala introduced a fleet of seaplanes in 2015.

“Single engine plane. Foreign pilots. Is there any security guideline that will not be thrown out today?” posted former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, adding that “How is it that the security guidelines were relaxed for this flight? No Z+ protectee is allowed to fly in a single engine aircraft, much less the PM of our country.”

While the “Gujarat Model of Development” is already under attack from the opposition, on social media many wonder if it has any place for the poor and marginalised communities. Another twitter user Asmita wrote: “When Modi cries he is a chaiwala, people go insane and make it a big sad story. When Modi flies a seaplane, he becomes a big power hero. You are all deranged morons seriously. Either way people can be fooled.”

Some even wondered if PM Modi will do paragliding in the next election campaign to showcase Gujarat as a prosperous and a high-flying state. Here’s is a collection of other twitter reactions:

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Published: 12 Dec 2017, 3:15 PM