Gaikwad-Air India row

Gaikwad-Air India row

Osmanabad: Even as the Shiv Sena stood by its MP Ravindra Gaikwad, his supporters on Monday shut down Osmanabad district demanding action against Air India and other airlines for banning him from flying.

"How can airlines ban a Member of Parliament from flying?"

The facts of the case are not in dispute, the MP has taken pride in declaring he wielded his slipper 25 times, declaring he was a member of the Shiv Sena, not the BJP, and would tolerate no infringement of his authority. Let the employee complain. "Mujhe jyada bolne pe majboor na kare (Don't force me to speak more)". Sukumar further said that he had requested Gaikwad to deboard the aircraft as cleaning staff had to complete their work following which he got angry. The incident took place when Gaikwad was coming to Delhi from Pune on an Air India flight that apparently did not have a business class.

Meanwhile, Sena sources said that contrary to speculation, Gaikwad was not in hiding but was advised to keep a low profile till the entire issue cools down.

Earlier in the day, coming out in support of party Gaikwad by calling the airlines ban on him "illogical", Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said that it looks like somebody is trying to defame party leaders. The 57-year-old MP had on Thursday allegedly abused and assaulted a 60-year-old duty manager of Air India R Sukumar with slippers for not being able to fly business class despite having boarded an all-economy Pune-New Delhi flight. Now it is up to Shiv Sena chief to take a call on the erring member and a serial offender.

Lawmakers from other parties also came down heavily on Indian airlines.

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Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agrawal accused the airlines of indulging in "strong arm tactics". He also talked about the privileges of MPs, responding to which the minister said: "An MP is also a passenger".

After the ban, Gaikwad had to travel by train from Delhi to Maharashtra.

"There was some dispute; he had beaten an Air India staffer".

Several top politicians called for strict action against the politician, and civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju condemned the incident.

The minister was reiterating his views on the incident.

Raut also added that there are number of people who should be blacklisted, who is responsible for bringing Air India to this position and due to which it is facing loss.

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