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Backlash prompts Air India to withdraw boarding passes with PM Modi’s face on it

Air India received criticism from different quarters over the boarding passes with an advertisement of #VibrantGujarat printed on it

New Delhi: Air India has decided to withdraw those boarding passes that have PM Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s pictures printed over them. The issue came into light when Former Punjab DGP Shashi Kant tweeted a photograph of his boarding pass while he was at the New Delhi Airport.

Shashi questioned in his tweet how can state carrier use boarding passes bearing PM and a state’s chief minister’s picture over it while model code of conduct in the country is in effect and what is election commission doing about it?

Air India Issued Statement

The airline in its clarification has said that the passes having Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani’s pictures imprinted upon them were printed last year and it was part of Vibrant Gujarat campaign. "The rolls seem to be the ones leftover from the boarding passes printed during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit and the photos are third-party advertisements. It has nothing to do with Air India. These boarding passes are not just for Gujarat, but are in use across India," Kumar said.

‘Third-party advertisements’

Spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar also said that the campaign printed on the boarding pass is a part of third-party advertisements, would be withdrawn if they are found to be in violation of the Model Code of Conduct. "Air India has decided to roll back the boarding passes of Vibrant Gujarat which had photos of the prime minister and the Gujarat chief minister," he concluded.

Flying after Indian Railways

The similar issue had cropped up with Indian Railways on March 20, when Trinamool Congress complained to the Election Commission about rail tickets with photos of the prime minister on them. Later the tickets were withdrawn by the railways giving a similar explanation that it was a third-party ad and leftover from a pack of tickets printed a year earlier. Indian railways had immediately instructed other railway zones to withdraw the tickets.