Air India withdraws boarding passes with PM Modi's picture
Air India has decided to withdraw the boarding passes featuring the pictures of PM Narendra Modi and Gujarat CM, Vijay Rupani, after former Punjab DGP Shashi Kant's tweet sparked a controversy. The outrage started as the pictures violate the Model Code of Conduct. Separately, Railways also had to withdraw its tickets recently, featuring the PM after TMC's complained to the Election Commission.
In a statement, Dhananjay Kumar, spokesperson of Air India said, "Air India has decided to roll back the boarding passes of Vibrant Gujarat which had photos of the Prime Minister and the Gujarat Chief Minister." In an earlier statement, the Airline clarified that boarding passes were third-party advertisements from Vibrant Gujarat summit, and would be discontinued if they violate the Model Code of Conduct.
"The rolls seem to be the ones left over from the passes printed during Vibrant Gujarat Summit'19 and the photos are third-party advertisements. It's nothing to do with Air India. These boarding passes aren't just for Gujarat, but are in use across India," Kumar said.
The controversy surfaced when Kant tweeted a picture of his Air India boarding pass issued at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi today. He questioned the pictures of the two leaders on the boarding pass. He wrote, "Wonder why we are wasting public money on this Election Commission, which doesn't see, hear or speak."
At New Delhi airport today March 25th, 2019.— Shashi Kant IPS (@shashikantips54) March 25, 2019
My Air India Boarding Pass, prominently flashes Narendra Modi, "Vibrant Gujrat" Vijay Rupani. Picture of boarding pass is below.
Wonder why we are wasting public money on this Election Commission, which doesn't see, hears or speak... pic.twitter.com/7t49cNIlAR
Earlier on March 21, the Indian Railways had to discontinue the issuance of railway tickets with the pictures of PM Modi after Trinamool Congress (TMC) reported the issue to the Election Commission of India. The TMC delegation accused Bharatiya Janata Party of violating the Model Code of Conduct. The country is set to go into a seven-phase general election, starting April 11 onwards.
Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission to keep a check on the political parties in the run-up to the elections and comes into effect after the announcement of the elections. Political parties can't advertise on any public property like train, airplane and government infrastructure. Air India, being a public undertaking, can't bear endorsement for any party.