No more a VIP: Paswan gets Shatru-like treatment

No more a VIP: Paswan gets Shatru-like treatment

Ram Vilas Paswan. File Photo

Close on the heels of denying VIP status to rebel BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, senior Union Minister and president of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) Ram Vilas Paswan too has ceased to be a VIP at the airports.

This revelation came to fore when Paswan reached Patna airport, also called Jaya Prakash Narayan International Airport, on Monday evening to board an Air India flight to Delhi.

He was asked to enter the airport like an ordinary passenger and go through the mandatory security-check drills. “The VIP status, under which he was allowed to use a ferry vehicle of the airport to reach up to the tarmac for boarding an aircraft, has been withdrawn. This has been done as the circular of the Civil Aviation Ministry, giving him special privileges on the basis of health grounds, expired on December 31,” a senior official at the airport told Deccan Herald.

Last week, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) had questioned the Airport Authority of India (AAI) how Shatrughan was allowed to use special vehicle to go up to tarmac before boarding a plane. The rebel BJP leader, who misses no opportunity in taking a dig at PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, was earlier given special VIP privileges at the airport on health grounds after he had undergone a bypass surgery in 2016.

“Shatrughan’s permission expired in June 2018, but he still continued the privileges till recently as a special case since he was also the chairman of Patna Airport Advisory Committee,” said the source, refusing to be identified.

Sources close to Shatrughan said he had fallen out of BJP’s favour after cosying up to RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Incidentally, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation happens to be Jayant Sinha, son of former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, with whom Shatru shares a great rapport.

Paswan, meanwhile, showed no sign of remorse over the order withdrawing special privileges at the airport. “It’s good that I will walk a bit, just like I take a stroll during morning hours,” said the Union Minister, who is also a key BJP ally.