AAP denies ‘drunk’ Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann deplaned
JALANDHAR/CHANDIGARH: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann came under attack on Monday from opposition Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal that alleged a man reportedly “drunk and deplaned” from a Lufthansa flight in Frankfurt the day before was him, a charge AAP denied and demanded an apology for.
The CM was in Germany with a delegation of state officials to meet potential investors for Punjab. He was expected to return to attend the party’s ‘Rashtriya Jan Pratinidhi Sammelan’ in Delhi on Sunday, but couldn’t make it and joined the meeting through a video call. He was back on Monday.
Controversy swirled over his delayed arrival following reports that a flight of the German carrier ran behind schedule because of a passenger who was allegedly drunk and removed from the plane. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and Congress legislative party leader Partap Singh Bajwa alleged that the “deplaned” man was CM Mann and asked him to resign.
Sukhbir tweeted: “Disturbing media report quoting co-passengers say Pb CM @BhagwantMann was deplaned from Lufthansa flight as he was too drunk to walk. And it led to a 4-hour flight delay. He missed AAP’s national convention. These reports have embarrassed & shamed Punjabis all over the globe.”
Bajwa said Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia should get details from Lufthansa and make them public.
Lufthansa News, a verified Twitter handle, tweeted Monday: “Our flight from Frankfurt to Delhi departed later than originally planned due to a delayed inbound flight and an aircraft change. Best regards.”
Following the airline’s clarification, AAP’s Malvinder Singh Kang said the opposition should apologise. “They have been spreading all sorts of lies since Sunday. They made false allegations against the CM of Punjab. They don’t mind bringing a bad name to the state by targeting the CM,” he said.
The opposition kept prodding, though. SAD MP Harsimrat tweeted: “…The real issue is not the delay in the flight but whether or not he was deplaned. The @lufthansa statement is mysteriously silent on that. Will the CM please speak up?”