Amid controversies, flying ban on Sena MP Rajendra Gaikwad likely to be lifted today

Ravindra Gaikwad
Amid controversies, flying ban on Sena MP Rajendra Gaikwad likely to be lifted today.

Mumbai, April, 6: Amid controversies, flying ban on Shiv Sena MP Rajendra Gaikwad would likely be lifted this evening, according to media reports. All airline services including Air India have been told to honour his ticket. However, the police cases against him will stay. This comes after Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan met Shiv Sena MPs, the civil aviation minister and the home minister in Parliament today.

Lok Sabha on Thursday witnessed utter chaos as Shiv Sena members, including Union Minister Anant Geete, surrounded Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju after he refused to heed to their demand for revoking the flying ban on their colleague Ravindra Gaikwad.

Bharatiya Janata Party members, including several union ministers, watched in shock as their allies hit Rajus bench in anger and did not let him leave. Soon thereafter several leaders, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, tried to placate Geete and his colleagues while Raju was ushered out.

The incident occurred soon after the House was adjourned as Sena members created a ruckus, protesting Rajus response to Gaikwads statement. Gaikwad attended the House for the first time after the incident. The Sena MP said, I apologise for my behaviour, but I am not apologetic to the airline official who abused and manhandled me and spoke in a derogatory manner about the parliamentarians and the prime minister.

This behaviour was unacceptable. It was only after he insulted the PM and the Parliament that I got upset and hit him. Only that clip was shown to the public. I demand justice. What crime have I committed? Without any proper investigation I have to face media trial, he added ruing the media trial.

Comparing his ordeal with what Mahatma Gandhi might have had to face when he was thrown out of a train in South Africa in the pre-Independence era, Gaikwad said the Airlines imposing a travel ban on him was like Mahatma Gandhi facing the brunt of apartheid. Gaikwad also said he had simply asked for a complaint book to register his complaint but the Air India staffer unnecessarily got into an argument with him.

While coming out of the plane I asked for the complaint book, which I was told the flight staff did not have at that point in time, however, they registered my complaint. The accusation that I fought for the seat is wrong I did not, he said. In the end, an officer came and asked me who are you to which I asked him who was he and to that he replied, Main Air India ka baap hoon. I further told him that I am an MP, to which he replied MP hua to kya hua? Tu Narendra Modi hai kya?

Following his statement, Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju said it was up to Gaikwad to decide if he wanted to defuse the matter or aggravate it, asserting that what has happened is as per the law which will take its own course. Refusing any preferential treatment to the Sena member, he said the matter was not about an MP but a passenger. Aircraft is a machine where people fly. Safety is important. Safety cannot be compromised, Raju said, apparently justifying the ban on Gaikwad. His reply provoked the agitating Sena members who trooped out of their seats and surrounded Rajus seat in the front row.