“So, you are traveling in this flight as well?” the captain asked Maran, who was seated in the front row, after all the passengers boarded the flight. Maran nodded in the affirmative wondering why the pilot sounded so familiar. Despite being a frequent traveller, Maran could not recognize the man behind the mask. “So, you cannot recognize me,” the captain persisted to the bewilderment of Maran. Soon, his smile gave him away. The captain was none other than fellow MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Just two hours before, the two MPs were involved in intense discussion in the estimates committee meeting. Neither of them were aware of the pleasant encounter that was in store later in the day.
“I was pleasantly surprised and told Rudyji that I couldn’t believe that he was going to be the captain flying us from Delhi to Chennai. He laughed and said “Yes, I noticed that you didn’t recognize me, I fly frequently!” I could only say that I was honoured to be flown by my good friend and colleague. Rudyji also served as a Minister of State, when my father was the Union Minister for Commerce, “ Maran tweeted.
How often does a sitting Member of Parliament captain a commercial flight? I’m sure I will be talking about this fo… https://t.co/etwLDYHWOP
– Dayanidhi Maran தயாநிதி மாறன் (ayanDayanidhi_Maran) 1626195150000
Rudy, in fact, juggles many professions with ease. “This is my fourth profession. I teach economics, take up cases as a lawyer in Patna. I am into politics and I am also a pilot,” he told TOI. “But there is no conflict here. Instead of being a passenger, I fly the commercial airliner as an honorary pilot to fulfill my commercial pilot licence obligation. I am not an employee and I do not draw a salary, “ he said.
“I must be the only parliamentarian in the world flying a big jet. I fly Airbus 320 and 321. I was the oldest to get the Commercial Pilot License, when I was 50. Now I am 59 and have clocked 4,000 hours of flying commercial Airbus, “ Rudy said.
“A flight to remember indeed! How often does a sitting Member of Parliament captain a commercial flight? I’m sure I will be talking about this for a long time. Thank you Captain Rajiv Pratap Rudy, MP for flying us safely from Delhi to Chennai!” tweeted Maran.
That is not end of the story. Rudy, who is in Chennai and attended the Parliamentary Committee on Travel and Civil Aviation on Wednesday, will be flying a commercial jet to Kochi on Thursday. The list of passengers include former deputy chief minister of Bihar Sushil Modi, former Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat and 20 other MPs.
Rudy had a parting shot. “As Minister of State for Commerce in the NDA government, headed by A B Vajpayee, I was an assistant to Murasoli Maran in the WTO talks in Doha. When I asked Dayanidhi Maran on the flight whether he wanted to write on my scrapbook, he said he will put out a detailed tweet, despite me being in the opposite side. His gesture has gone down well across the country’s political fraternity, “ Rudy signed off.