Political Pickle

Modi’s Civil Aviation ministers grounded

In the middle of the election campaign in Andhra Pradesh, former Civil Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had reason to feel happy at the content in the speech of a rival leader. That speaker happened to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“In my long political career, yesterday for the first time I have heard a PM speaking of civil aviation in a public meeting during elections at Kurnool,” Raju had tweeted

Udaan, the regional airport development and regional connectivity scheme was one of the achievements of the Modi government. The three civil aviation ministers who presided over Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, the headquarters of the Civil Aviation ministry in New Delhi – Raju, Suresh Prabhu and Jayant Sinha – were seen as efficient ministers who carried out the mandate to make flying more passenger-friendly while pursuing the best international practises. The inability to sell of Air India however, stuck out like a sore thumb.

All three former Civil Aviation ministers have now been grounded. Of course, there was no way Raju could have taken off. The exit of the Telugu Desam from the NDA in March 2018 coupled with a defeat in Vizianagaram this time, has clipped Raju’s wings.

On Thursday, the two notable omissions at Rashtrapati Bhavan were Suresh Prabhu and Jayant Sinha. The latter did not make the cut despite registering an impressive win in Hazaribagh while Prabhu who also looked after Commerce and Railways during Modi’s first innings, too was ignored. 

Incidentally, there was no representation for Andhra Pradesh in the ministry. In case, Prabhu had been included, he would have represented Andhra as he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from the state. 

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