Captain Rudy in the cockpit

If ever there was confusion with a capital C , it is in the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.

Passengers on an Indigo flight from Ahmedabad to New Delhi were in for a big surprise when the announcement came from the cockpit that the flight was being operated by none other than Rajiv Pratap Rudy, minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship. It was a rare occasion when Mr Rudy was ferrying his Cabinet colleagues Ananth Kumar, Smriti Irani and Ajay Tamta along with several journalists and functionaries of the government.

The entourage was rushing to attend the wedding of Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s daughter in New Delhi after attending the mega three-day Textile India 2017 event in Ahmedabad. Mr Rudy is the only parliamentarian who is rostered occasionally to operate flights on a honorary basis to keep his A-320 licence alive under the DGCA rules. The BJP ministers received compliments from the cockpit, and the passengers had a lengthy and detailed brief on the PA system about the weather and flight path.


SP in a state of flux?
If ever there was confusion with a capital “C”, it is in the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. The Samajwadis are tied up in knots over their party’s relationship with the Congress and the BJP. SP president Akhilesh Yadav insists that his friendship with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is “on”, but the Congress in Uttar Pradesh is strongly opposed to continuing the alliance. Congress leaders refuse to defend the scams related to Akhilesh’s government in front of the media, which makes the Samajwadis uncomfortable. Mr Gandhi, meanwhile, is keeping the suspense by maintaining a studied silence on the issue.

While Akhilesh keeps the saffron brigade at arm’s length, his father, Mulayam, and uncle, Shivpal, have no qualms in meeting and socialising with BJP leaders. The duo has even announced their support for the NDA presidential candidate, leaving the Samajwadis even more confused.

“We do not know whether we will remain green (SP) or go saffron (BJP) or opt for tricolour. At the moment, no colour is the best colour,” said a senior SP leader.

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