Monday, January 25, 2021
Home News Reports As Rahul Gandhi mouths off platitudes over Air India One, here is a throwback...

As Rahul Gandhi mouths off platitudes over Air India One, here is a throwback to the time his father used INS Viraat as a personal yacht

India's former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had reportedly used India's lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat in 1987 for his family and companions' vactionioning in Lakshadweep Island

After being mocked and incessantly trolled for using a cushioned seat on a tractor, the former Congress President Rahul Gandhi took aim at the Prime Minister over two custom-made aeroplanes that the govt of India has acquired for VVIP travel. Taking a swipe at PM Modi, Gandhi said that the Prime Minister’s ‘Air India One’ did not just have a cushion but a whole lot of luxury beds for his comfort and accused him of “wasting” thousands of crores of rupees on the plane just because “his friend Donald Trump has one.”

Rahul Gandhi attacked Modi over the planes ignoring the fact that the planes were ordered by the UPA govt, and the current govt merely completed the process. Gandhi’s riposte came after the government attacked the Wayanad MP for sitting on a cushioned seat on a tractor while participating in his “Kheti Bachao Yatra” in Punjab against the recently passed Farm Bills. Questioning the wisdom of spending such a huge amount of money when “China at our borders” and the government is stockpiling ammunition, ration, equipment and other necessary items along the Indo-China border, Gandhi stated that PM Modi wanted the luxurious plane because “his friend Donald Trump has one”.

Acquisition of aircraft was initiated during the UPA regime

However, soon after Rahul Gandhi took a dig at PM Modi for procuring the new custom-made Boeing aeroplanes, the BJP government slammed the Gandhi scion, saying that the process of procurement of the VIP aircraft had begun around a decade ago when the UPA government was in power under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi’s mother, Sonia Gandhi. Moreover, the planes belong to the Indian Air Force and not the Prime Minister.

The process of acquisition of the two new aircraft started in 2011 under the UPA-II regime when upon the direction of Group of Ministers (GOM), a meeting of Committee of Secretaries (CoS) was organised in which it was determined that an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) would evaluate the available options for long term arrangement of VVIP aircraft. The IMG met about 10 times and submitted two recommendations in 2012—convert an existing B777 ER or use one of the new ones that were ordered by Air India but yet to be delivered.

The govt finally decided to use two planes from the planes ordered for Air India by the UPA govt. It may be the UPA govt had ordered much more aircraft than what was needed by Air India, causing it the financial mess the national carrier is currently it. Two planes from these excess planes, from the planes which were yet to be delivered by Boeing, were repurposed as VVIP aircraft and necessary modification and customisation for the same were ordered by the government.

Air India had ordered for 68 aircraft from Boeing in 2005, 15 of which were B777-300 ER aircraft. In 2017, by when the carrier had taken delivery of 12 777s, it was decided that two aircraft from the remaining three will be used as Air India One for VVIP travel after necessary customisation. Therefore, the govt had actually bought the planes from Air India, which had already bought it from Boeing. Even if those aircraft were not customised VVIP jets, Air India still would have to pay for the cost of the planes as standard commercial jets.

But one can expect Rahul Gandhi to remain ignorant of such details to have made an attack against the Prime Minister on acquiring aircraft whose acquisition was initiated by the Congress-led coalition at the centre. What’s more? It’s a bit rich coming from someone whose father, Rajiv Gandhi, had used INS Viraat as his personal taxi.

Rajiv Gandhi used INS Viraat as his personal taxi

In an exclusive story covered by India Today in 1988, the author alleged that the former prime minister of India and Rahul Gandhi’s father, Rajiv Gandhi, used India’s aircraft carrier INS Viraat as his own personal yacht. The incident is from the time when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country and had gone on vacations to Lakshadweep Islands with his family members and friends.

This incident was raked up by PM Modi in the run-up to the 2019 General Elections, where he alleged that the Gandhi Family used India’s aircraft carrier INS Viraat as their personal boat and compromised India’s national security because their entertainment was of higher priority than the nation’s security.

INS Viraat was deployed for protection of maritime borders of the country, but that was sent for transporting the Gandhi family who was going for holidaying. After that, their entire group was carried to an island by INS Viraat, where it stayed for ten days. The holidaying group included Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi’s mother, her brother and a maternal uncle. Also present were then MP Amitabh Bachchan, his wife Jaya Bachchan and their two children, daughter of Amitabh’s brother Ajitabh, and former minister Arun Singh’s brother Bijendra Singh’s wife and daughter.

Not only was INS Viraat requisitioned for transporting the Gandhi family, but government employees and navy soldiers were also assigned the job of organising all the facilities for the vacation. A special helicopter of the army was deployed their service 24×7, the entire administration was looking after the arrangement of entertainment of the Gandhi family and their guests.

INS Viraat, the lone carrier of Indian navy at that time, was used to transport the Gandhi family and their companions, which moved in the Arabian sea for 10 days for this vacation. An aircraft carrier does not move alone in the sea, a carrier is the nerve centre of a carrier battle group and it is always surrounded by several warships. Even a submarine was also present during the trip. This means incurring huge expenditure. However, for the delectation of the Gandhi family and their guests, India’s security was compromised and massive outlays on public exchequer overlooked.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia


Related Articles

Trending now

Delhi Police grants permission for Tractor Parade by farmer protesters on Republic Day: Details

Permission has been granted to the farmer protesters to conduct a tractor parade at Delhi on Republic Day, said Delhi Police.

Russian Government metaphorically spanks Shekhar Gupta’s The Print for peddling fake news, advises editors to focus on facts, not flashy headlines

MFA, Russia said that The Print's "attempt to create a sensation from nothing failed and looked ludicrous and helpless."

Rahul Gandhi says if farmers and labourers are strong, India does not need to deploy armed forces at Indo-China border

Rahul Gandhi said that if India's labourers, farmers and weavers were strong, China would never dare to come inside India.

Photograph of PM Modi landing in Kolkata goes viral, clocks over 1 million likes on Facebook in less than 24 hours

The photograph was captured after PM Modi reached Kolkata to pay tribute to Netaji Subash Chandra Bose on 'Parakram Diwas'

How to be “Godi media”? Learn from American ‘liberals’

It’s a classic case of projection. Liberals see their opponents as they themselves are. Fawning over their leaders in a way that would rival North Korean state television.

From Rafale jets to Bangladesh contingent: Here is what will make 2021 Republic Day Parade special

Rafale jets, Bangladesh Armed Forces, Ram Mandir and VIjaynagar Tableau are the few main attractions of Republic Day parade this year

Recently Popular

#BanSportsTak: Netizens angry after India Today owned sports channel claims Virat Kohli suffers from ‘disorder’

"It is a disorder for a captain to (be as aggressive as Virat Kohli). It might be acceptable for a player to have this aggression (but nor for a captain)," the journalist claimed.

‘I allow you housewives to have extra-marital affair with man of your choice’: Video of Mamata Banerjee’s ‘progressive’ speech goes viral

Mamata Banerjee says she is so "flexible" that she has given permission to housewives to have extra-marital affairs

Professor who translated Rahul Gandhi’s “don’t need army if farmers are strong” speech in Erode faints after the speech: Reports

Muhammed Imran, who translated Rahul Gandhi's speech at Erode, collapsed after interpreting the speech from English to Tamil

Gujarat Forest Dept to take legal action against Christian Evangelist Paul Dhinakaran over unauthorised use of the department’s logo

Website of Paul Dhinakaran claims of collaborating with the Gujarat Forest Department, a claim junked by the latter

How Brazil thanked India for sending Coronavirus vaccine doses: Pawan Putra Hanuman

President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has expressed his gratitude towards India and Prime Minister Modi for vaccine exports from our country.

Watch: Taking offence at Jai Shree Ram slogans, Mamata Banerjee walks off stage even as PM Modi and Bengal Governor look on

Mamata Banerjee who was sharing the stage with PM Modi, lamented "being disrespected" because she heard Jai Shree Ram slogans
- Advertisement -


The Rahul Gandhi blooper collection: When the Gandhi-scion goofed up and made zero sense at public rallies

Rahul Gandhi announced his return to India quintessentially by goofing-up public rallies recently, which has now taken the internet by storm.

Media houses spread fake news saying RBI is discontinuing old series of Rs.100, Rs.10 and Rs.5 notes from circulation

PIB said that RBI did not issue any order that says Rs.100, Rs.10 and Rs.5 notes will go out of circulation in March-April

Congress MP says Khalistanis are attempting to hijack farmer protests after party accused govt of maligning farmers for saying the same

Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu says Khalistanis are attempting to hijack farmer protests after being booed away.

Madhya Pradesh Protem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma sends Ramayana to WB CM Mamata Banerjee

Rameshwar Sharma, Protem Speaker of Madhya Pradesh, asked Banerjee if she is under pressure of extremists, and sent her a copy of Ramayana

Farmer protestor writes to PM Modi’s mother requesting her to order the PM to scrap the farm laws

Harpreet Singh said that mothers can pull the ear of son, and hoped that Modi's mother will order the PM to revoke the farm laws

Delhi Police grants permission for Tractor Parade by farmer protesters on Republic Day: Details

Permission has been granted to the farmer protesters to conduct a tractor parade at Delhi on Republic Day, said Delhi Police.

Pakistan-sponsored Islamic terrorists hiding in launch pads to infiltrate into India to carry out attacks: Intelligence reports

Intelligence reports say that terrorists have been given clear instructions to carry out attacks on Army installations in Kashmir.

‘This is Tulsi Gabbard’: Former US Congresswoman announces the launch of her podcast

On the 22nd of January, she released a video on YouTube announcing that 'This is Tulsi Gabbard' will be launched soon.

While India administers over a million vaccine doses in a week, Pakistan awaits its ‘unsafe gift’ from China

Pakistan is world's fifth most populous country but it is amongst the 51 countries which is yet to start immunisation program for its citizens.

Professor who translated Rahul Gandhi’s “don’t need army if farmers are strong” speech in Erode faints after the speech: Reports

Muhammed Imran, who translated Rahul Gandhi's speech at Erode, collapsed after interpreting the speech from English to Tamil

Connect with us