Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s decision to travel economy class on a New Delhi-Mumbai flight has led to a scamper for economy class seats among Congress ministers from Maharashtra.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Industry Minister Narayan Rane, Revenue Minister Patangrao Kadam and State Congress President Manikrao Thakre shunned business class comforts and occupied cramped seats among budget flyers on Kingfisher flights on Tuesday. While Rane and Kadam travelled business class on their way to Delhi, they chose to travel economy on their way back. The others stuck to economy class both ways.
The Congress party has asked its members to practise austerity because of the prevailing drought situation in the country. Ministers are expected to save at least 10 per cent on travelling costs. The party’s Members of Parliament (MP) have also been asked to contribute 20 per cent of their monthly salaries towards drought relief.
Sources close to state ministers said the leaders did not want to take any chances and be caught unawares like Congress MP from Bhiwandi Suresh Taware, who had to exchange his business class seat with an economy class passenger on the flight on which Gandhi travelled to Mumbai on Monday.
Kadam told HT that he cancelled his business class return ticket and “upgraded to economy”. “My ticket was booked well in advance. I enjoyed my travel,” he said.Rane was unavailable for comment. His younger son, Nitesh, said his father too travelled economy and will continue to do so in future as well.