Union information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu seems to be jinxed when it comes to flying. On Wednesday, he was left high and dry after a chartered plane that was taking him and BJP chief Amit Shah to Imphal for the swearing-in ceremony of Manipur’s new chief minister Biren Singh, developed a glitch and had to return to Delhi.
But Naidu is no stranger to such things and has seen worse.
“Some of my colleagues joke that it is dangerous to travel with me on board. But the bottom line is: ultimately nothing bad will happen,” he once said.
Naidu has faced at least nine serious situations while flying. In January 2005, his helicopter made an emergency landing in a remote, Maoist-infested village in Bihar’s Gaya district. Although locals ferried him to safety, Maoists burned down the chopper a few hours later.
During the first NDA government, Naidu was invited by Captain Gopinath to inaugurate the first flight of Air Deccan from Hyderabad in September 2003. But the flight had to be aborted after one of the engines caught fire. Naidu was one of the passengers on the flight.
That year, he has also experienced landing in mud when his chopper developed a snag and landed in agricultural fields in Ranchi.
In another incident, his flight landed 200 kms away from his destination in Rajasthan.
Naidu also remembers how, when he was the BJP president, he had to spend a night in an under-construction house in a remote village in the northeast as his chopper could not take off.