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|February 20, 1999||
Mysterious "something" delays PM's flight to historic meet
Mystifying indeed are the ways of the prime minister.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was about to leave for Amritsar on his way to Pakistan for his historic bus ride.
Soon after he arrived at the airport, the prime minister exchanged pleasantries with VVIPs and chatted with the press before boarding the Indian Air Force aircraft.
The insistent whine of the aircraft increased to a roar and the VVIPs, including senior cabinet ministers, began turning around to leave, now that the formalities were done. But suddenly the roar died down as the pilot cut the engines.
Everyone in the waiting lounge at the technical area of Palam airport began wondering if a technical snag would cause Nawaz Sharief to hang around in the sun at Wagah. Then the back door of the aircraft was opened and a ladder was dropped down. Now clearly worried, the VVIPs watched a few air force personnel come out of the aircraft and whisper something in the ears of the important-looking officials below.
Waiting reporters asked an air force officer if the plane had developed a snag, he replied in the negative, adding that the prime minister had forgotten "something" that was being brought from his house.
After about half-an-hour, a staffer of the prime minister's residence brought the mysterious parcel to the airport. Only then did the aircraft, scheduled to take off at 2.20 pm leave. It was 2.50 pm.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Pramod Mahajan later confirmed the prime minister had indeed forgotten "something" that had it was safely in his hands now.
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