As the Lok Sabha 2019 elections are on, the current Prime Minister of the country is still occupied with his unwarranted attacks on the Gandhi family. Initially, PM Narendra Modi had termed the late PM Rajiv Gandhi Brashtachari No. 1 (Corruptor No. 1). Now, he has gone to cite an India Today article about the late Gandhi's family holiday on a private island in the Lakshwadeep archipelago. The article is dated 31st January 1988, but has been republished for reasons unknown. The byline on the article is of Anita Pratap. Here's Narendra Modi's tweet (from the official PM's handle) calling out the Gandhis.
If you're wondering what is it that caught our national Chowkidar's attention, here are a few pointers in the India Today article.
# - So if Mikhail Gorbachev disappeared for a fortnight to the Black Sea beaches, and Ronald Reagan retired to the quiet of his Santa Barbara ranch, Rajiv Gandhi too decided to get away from it all. The madding crowds of hangers - on, files, problems, dissidents: all became distant memories - literally - on the uninhabited island of Bangaram (area 0.5 sq km) in the Lakshadweep archipelago (36 islands, population: 44,000) nestling in the emerald blue Arabian Sea 465 km west of Cochin.
# - The island had been chosen with care: it is the only one in the strategic archipelago on which foreigners are not banned. It is also the exception in the group of islands in that prohibition is not in force. Even from the security angle. Bangaram, cut off from the rest of the world, is ideal. "It is a naturally secure place," says Lakshadweep's police chief P.N. Agarwal.
# - The spotlight swung on it on December 26, when Rajiv's son Rahul alighted along with four friends from an orange - and - white Lakshadweep administration helicopter.
# - The Government did its best to keep the press away: it tried to ensure that no one invaded the privacy of Rajiv's party by either air or sea.
# - Also present were former MP Amitabh Bachchan, his wife Jaya and their three children. The daughter of Amitabh's brother Ajitabh, who is being investigated for a suspected violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act, had gone along too.
# - While Rajiv and Sonia began their holiday only on the afternoon of December 30, Amitabh, the star guest, arrived a day later, aboard a special Cochin - Kavaratti helicopter flight.
# - The exercise was undertaken to keep the wraps on Amitabh's visit to Bangaram. But on the small island of Kavaratti, the secret was no secret on December 31 itself, when he landed for a 50-minute refuelling halt en route to Bangaram.
# - Opposition leaders wanted to know what kind of message Rajiv was sending to officials probing Ajitabh's assets in Switzerland by fraternising with Amitabh and his brother's family.
# - Said Kunji Koya, general secretary of the Indian Union Muslim League at Kavaratti: 'It's appalling that the helicopter should be used to transport just one man - that too a man whose name figures in the nation's biggest scandal."
# - Sonia (Gandhi), who's prone to asthma, preferred to admire the beauty of the corals through glass - bottomed boats, along with her mother and Jaya Bachchan. While the others frolicked in the lagoon, Sonia would often sit chatting with her mother or Jaya under the shade of a coconut tree.
# - Rajiv (Gandhi), however, roamed about as if he knew his way around the place and even waded into the water to save a bleeding dolphin that had been grounded.
- According to sports officials, the administration has been directed to submit all the bills so that Rajiv (Gandhi) can make the payment. Says Lakshadweep Collector K.K. Sharma: "We made no special arrangements for the VIP holiday." Adds Habeebullah: "My job was only to deposit the prime minister at Bangaram. After that, he wanted to be left on his own."
- India's premier warship, INS Virat, was used to transport the Gandhis and moved in the Arabian Sea for 10 days. Its daily expenditure at sea is astronomical as the Virat travels with an entire retinue of escort ships. A submarine was also reported to be in attendance and some defence experts questioned the justification of depriving the navy of its most effective fighting component merely to suit Rajiv's holiday plans.
(With inputs from India Today)