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NEW DELHI: Hours after a video emerged, showing a woman arguing with Union minister KJ Alphons after her flight was delayed, the minister on Wednesday clarified that he was not responsible for the delay.
According to reports on Times Now, the woman, Dr Nirala, was on her way to attend her brother’s funeral when her flight got delayed due to the arrival of the President’s flight.
Infuriated by the delay, the woman confronted the minister, who seems to maintain his calm.
Alphons, who was waiting for the President’s arrival, denied his role in the controversy.
“I don’t think there is any controversy at all. I saw this lady in distress and I went up to talk to her. She said she has to attend a funeral in Patna, I told her that there is a protocol. When President is landing, no flight can take off,” ANI quoted the minister as saying.
The minister also clarified that the protocol is in place only for the President and the Prime Minister.
“Apart from Prime Minister and President there is no protocol for any minister. She (woman in video) had to talk to someone. It is fine with me that she vented her anger on me,” he said.
“This protocol is in place for the past 70 years and not made by this government. I tried to tell her that her flight will leave as soon as the President’s flight lands, but she was really in distress,” Alphons said.
The minister added that he “was not in favour” of protocols that encourage VIP culture and that he has also informed officials that a pilot jeep should not be assigned for him, reported PTI.
Dr Nirala, on the other hand, said she approached Alphons, “thinking a minister can do everything,” ANI reported.
“Everybody has their own life, everyone has their own time. This should not happen to anyone. This (VVIP culture) should be stopped,” she told ANI.
President Ram Nath Kovind was scheduled to reach the Manipur capital to inaugurate the Northeast Development Summit, which was expected to see the participation of several Union ministers, too.
According to an official at the airport, three flights were delayed and air traffic was affected for nearly two hours, reported PTI.
(With inputs from agencies)