On Thursday, sources told ANI that Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad’s travel ban would be lifted if the MP apologised to Air India. Meanwhile, Gaikwa wrote a letter to the Aviation minister apologising for the incident. He wrote: “It could have have been no one’s intention to have let the situation aggravate to the level that it eventually did. While the on-going investigation will bring out the factual sequence of events to fix responsibility, this incident may kindly not be seen as a reason for likely recurrence of such an event in future also.
As the restriction on flying is affecting the effective discharge of my duties and responsibilities, I would request you to lift this restriction and let the investigation eventually determine the circumstances which led to the incident.”
Earlier, the Shiv Sena continued to be defensive. The Shiv Sena said on Thursday lashed out at Air India, saying that the national carrier is people’s servant, adding that it has no right to insult a person on social media. ‘What is Air India’ Who is CMD’ What is their status and where do they even stand’ How can they even insult an MP so openly on social media’ Who has given them this right?
It is peoples’ servant, India’s servant. If you expect us to learn to behave properly, then first you learn the same,’ Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said while addressing a press conference here. Upping the ante against the government, the BJP’s alliance partner Shiv Sena earlier today threatened to boycott the meeting convened by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if the ban on its party lawmaker Ravindra Gaikwad is not lifted by April 10.
‘If this issue is not resolved by April 10, we will not attendthe NDA meeting,’ Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said. Raut also targeted the airlines for adopting double standards against Gaikwad, saying, ‘The airlines have been instrumental in evacuating Dawood Ibrahim from India, they were also instrumental in safely evacuating Vijay Mallya, what wrong has our MP committed. Noted criminals can board your flight, Kashmiri separatists can board your flight.
Even the Pakistan artistes and rapists can board your plane, but Ravindra Gaikwad cannot.’ Raut further said they will wait for the government to find a solution. ‘The government, especially Rajnath Singh, has assured us that they will soon find a solution to this issue. We have also talked to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju. Now, we will leave it to the government. We believe in him, hope he fulfill his commitments,’ he said.
Shiv Sena MP and Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete on her part said this matter is being sorted out, adding it is being looked upon by the Civil Aviation Minister. Earlier, the Shiv Sena MPs surrounded Raju over the flying ban on Gaikwad and threatened that unless it is lifted they “won’t allow the airlines to fly from Mumbai”.
The incident happened after the Lok Sabha was adjourned by Smitra Mahajan till 12.45 p.m. over the Shiv Sena protest. Earlier, the Shiv Sena MPs were agitated over a statement of the Civil Aviation Minister, who reiterated that the ban was not aimed at a Member of Parliament, but for a passenger and safety was most important in flights. This led to a protest by the Shiv Sena members and the House was adjourned.
Gaikwad, who was banned from flying after he assaulted an Air India staff, said that he had been provoked and alleged that the airlines staff misbehaved with him. Speaking on the issue during Zero Hour, Gaikwad demanded that the flying ban on him be lifted. He got support from other opposition parties.
The Shiv Sena MP also said that he can apologise to the Parliament but will not apologise to the airline staffer.