Should airlines punish our lawmakers?
Published: 17th June 2017 04:00 AM |
Getting late for a train or a flight is part of the common pool of everyday nightmares—its frustrations belong to the moment, its effects usually not long-lasting. How we cope with it depends on our personality. Some of us take it as part of the ebb and flow of luck. Some verbalise the anger of the moment at those who perhaps have the discretion to help us but choose not to. Some, like Telugu Desam Party MP J C Diwakar Reddy did at Visakhapatnam on Thursday, go even further and get physical.
It appears that he is a repeat offender. Now, it’s plain to see a clear line of propriety is crossed here. MPs are representatives of the people and should keep to a minimum standard of behaviour in public. The dignity of office has to be earned, partly by accepting the role of exemplars and we all know how deficient our politicians have been in this respect.
At the same time, the response of airlines—four of them have banned him on all future flights—poses a different question. A pattern is emerging here, with the case of Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad fresh in mind.
It’s no one’s case that the two were not boorish or did not abuse their privileged position. But they are members of Parliament, and the right way to end such delinquency is via the Parliament secretariat and/or the Speaker. It should be the job of the legitimate authority to bring them in line—they could do this by cancelling their free privileges or any other means they deem fit.
The airlines are not quite the right people to do this. It’s not their place to don an air of punitive authority and engage in crowd-pleasing acts of disciplining. After all, it’s easier to tap into (and perpetuate) the popular hatred of the politician rendered as caricature. More difficult to answer are tricky questions about themselves, on surge pricing for instance, and ask themselves if they have a leg to stand on to claim to speak for the public.