BJP Tamil Nadu chief Annamalai contradicts civil aviation minister in Tejasvi Surya emergency exit row

DGCA, Indigo Airlines and union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the emergency exit door was opened but Annamalai claimed otherwise.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jan 19, 2023 | 7:58 PM Updated Jan 20, 2023 | 4:53 PM

Annamalai in Lok Sabha elections in Coimbatore

A day after Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said BJP MP Tejasvi Surya opened the emergency exit of a flight by mistake, BJP Tamil Nadu President K Annamalai has denied anything of that sort happened.

Despite Jyotiraditya Scindia confirming that the passenger — Tejasvi Surya — opened the emergency exit door by mistake and apologised for the same, the saffron party’ president in Tamil Nadu said Tejasvi Surya neither opened the door nor apologised.

“Tejasvi Surya was sitting on the emergency exit seat. There was no handrest, so he was sitting with his hand placed on the emergency exit door. We were talking and after some time he showed me that the panel had a gap, I saw that.

“We called the air hostess and showed it, and then the pilot was called. The due procedure was followed to fix the door and re-pressurise the aircraft,” K Annamalai, Tamil Nadu BJP President told reporters in Karnataka on Thursday, 19 January.

Annamalai was seated next to Tejasvi Surya on the Indigo flight from Chennai to Trichy on 10 December, 2022.

For weeks, the incident had gone unreported and unacknowledged. While the authorities, including the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation Ministry itself, had kept mum about the issue for several weeks, South First‘s reportage compelled the DGCA and Indigo airlines to issue official statements acknowledging the violation of air safety norms.

‘Tejasvi didn’t pull anything’

“Tejasvi wrote an incident report detailing what had happened, where his hand was, etc. Tejasvi didn’t pull anything. He is a frequent flyer, he is educated; why would he pull anything like that? It takes a lot of rotating to open that door. It is not possible. That door, while placing his hand, slightly opened. Karnataka media says Tejasvi apologised, but he did not,” Annamalai added.

Annamalai’s statement contradicts Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia’s confirmation that Tejasvi Surya did open the emergency exit door, but by mistake, and the BJP MP even apologised for the same.

Scindia issued that statement at least twice on Wednesday.

Annamalai, in his statement to the media first said Tejasvi Surya didn’t open the door but later added that it “slightly opened up”. He first said Tejasvi Surya didn’t apologise but added that he apologised to passengers “despite not being at fault”.

“As an MP holding a responsible position, Tejasvi, although he was not at fault, apologised to passengers since the flight was delayed by an hour. He said sorry because he was sitting in that seat. This is an attempt to play politics by our political opponents. If Indigo makes the incident report form public, we will know that Tejasvi was sitting in the emergency seat and was resting his hand on the emergency door and it slightly opened. I am witness to it. All the passengers saw this,” K Annamalai said.