Jyotiraditya Scindia bested by Jairam Ramesh in social media spat

Ramesh claimed that airlines are being used to seek vote for Narendra Modi, which violates ECI guidelines

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh seems to have found a way to keep Jyotiraditya Scindia quiet (photo: Getty Images)
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh seems to have found a way to keep Jyotiraditya Scindia quiet (photo: Getty Images)

Sujata Anandan

“Never before has any Prime Minister gone to these lengths to stay in the public eye to shore up his own flailing image, especially in the run-up to crucial elections. Clearly, there is no limit to the man's insecurities, the Civil Aviation Minister's sycophancy and the spinelessness of the airline concerned.”

Ouch! That was Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeting on the fact that on his Indigo Airlines flights to Aizawl and back (Mizoram is holding assembly elections on 7 November), the airlines staff sought votes in the name of Narendra Modi from passengers.

In his tweet, Ramesh said the airlines hailed Narendra Modi for something “routine and inconsequential”, praise which then segued into a vote appeal in his name with no mention of the Election Commission of India (ECI), which was clearly against the model code of conduct.

Landing that triple blow, Ramesh went on to say other airlines he took to Raipur the next day made no such announcements (Chhattisgarh is going to the polls too) and he was glad to see that that airline “did not stoop to the same level. Good to see that some corporates are still resisting pressure from the Modi government and are following fair practices”.

Of course, that brought about a response from stung civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia who for long months now has had to adopt defensive positions on many of his actions.

Scindia promptly posted a letter from the secretariat for the ECI that sought updates to electoral rolls in the five states going to polls in November, and seeking the civil aviation ministry’s co-operation in raising voter awareness.

“For your kind information: this is part of an ongoing awareness collaboration between MoCA and the ECI to encourage voter participation.  Next time, simply ask,” he told Ramesh. “The world of armchair activism could do better with fewer false alarms.”

If he thought he had got Ramesh on that one and that his reply would shut the MP up, he was wrong. It was clear from the ECI letter to the MoCA that they had not asked for praises of Modi or the seeking of votes in his name by any airlines — only for airlines to create voter awareness.

In as scathing a response as it could get, Ramesh shot back, “The Civil Aviation Minister seems to have wilfully given up on reading and comprehension since he switched sides. Which part of my post should I repeat again?”

Scindia has been on the receiving end of several such comments from various Congress members since he, with no discernible problems with the Congress, suddenly switched to the BJP. His defences have been routinely demolished not just by Congress spokespersons but even social media influencers who have at times been brutal in ripping off his mask and making him face the truth — about his disloyalty, his family’s association with the RSS, and even his grandfather’s role in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. 

This time, too, Ramesh’s counter seems to have silenced him and he seems to be left with the task of defending the indefensible, given that he has been slammed once again on social media by the general populace.

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