February 15, 2020
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Plane Fare

Plane Fare
Travelling in the Samudra Gupta AI-1 with the prime ministerial entourage is an instructive lesson in itself. The journalists on board who are put up in the executive class are treated like baraatis, with every possible inflight comfort provided. But the presence of big editors on board creates its own dynamics. Big men have big egos and some of the editors expend considerable energy hankering after "special access" to the PM. On the Delhi-Beijing leg, all the editors were equally ignored and no one managed an Atal darshan. The disappointment was palpable as the China trip was particularly editor-heavy. What’s more, the first class section, where the ministers and senior officials accompanying the PM sit, was also rendered inaccessible on the journey to China. Reason: "sensitive matters" were being discussed. As it is, Delhi has been abuzz with rumours of many of the editors yearning for a Rajya Sabha berth that will soon get vacant. And a prime ministerial trip is a great opportunity for such journalists to showcase their candidature, do some influence-peddling and prove they are more loyal than the king. One of the political members of the PM’s entourage even cracked jokes about whether an application form should have been doled out to all the hopefuls!
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