After Railways, it was the turn of Air India to withdraw boarding passes bearing the photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, promoting the Vibrant Gujarat Summit held in January.
The national carrier took action apprehending that the Modi-Rupani boarding passes may run afoul with the Election Commission as the Model Code of Conduct had come into effect after the announcement of Lok Sabha elections on March 10.
The alarm was raised by former Punjab Police top cop Shashi Kant, who received the boarding pass at New Delhi when he took an Air India flight to Chandigarh on Monday morning.
“At New Delhi airport today March 25th, 2019. My Air India Boarding Pass prominently flashes Narendra Modi, "Vibrant Gujrat" & Vijay Rupani. Picture of the boarding pass is below. Wonder why we are wasting public money on this Election Commission, which doesn't see, hear or speak...” Kant said on Twitter.
Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said the rolls appeared to be the ones leftover from the boarding passes printed during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit held in January and the photographs were part of advertisement from 'third parties'.
“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,” Kumar said.
“It has nothing to do with Air India. These boarding passes are not just for Gujarat, but are in use across India,” Kumar said.
On March 20, tickets with photos of the prime minister were withdrawn by the railways after the Trinamool Congress complained to the Election Commission.
The railways had also said that it was a third-party ad and from a leftover pack of tickets printed a year earlier. The national transporter had instructed zones to withdraw the tickets.