Among all the reasons that have been advanced against businessmen entering politics, the chief among them has been the room it creates for potential conflict of interest. That the businessman may use his political power to promote his (or his friends’) business interests. Beedi baron Praful Patel as Civil Aviation Minister has drawn considerable attention given his close proximity to the controversial chief of Jet Airways, Naresh Goyal.
As if to prove the theorists right, the Parliamentary consultative committee attached to the civil aviation ministry, of which United Breweries and Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya is a member, has opined that liquor should be served on domestic flights. Mallya was not present at the meeting where the advice was made, and the MPs have used the figleaf of grape farmers to justify their suggestion, but you have to be drunk not to be able to add one and one.
Questions: Should alcohol be served in the air like on international flights? Should all kinds of alcohol be served, or only Indian wine grown by Indian farmers? Should there be a limit on how much alcohol should be served per passenger? Is a “mile-high high” a good way of spending time on long flights? Or will it only spark boorish behaviour? Are the MPs using grape farmers as an excuse or do they really have their interests in mind?
And one for the air—is Mallya using his Rajya Sabha chair to further his business interests?