Will stop flights from Mumbai: Shiv Sena MPs defend Ravindra Gaikwad

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, accused of beating up an Air India employee, attended the Lok Sabha on Thursday for the first time after last month’s incident.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2017 14:13 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji and Moushumi Dasgupta
Saubhadra Chatterji and Moushumi Dasgupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ravindra Gaikwad,Shiv Sena,Mumbai airport
Sparks flew in the Lok Sabha as the Shiv Sena supported its MP Ravindra Gaikwad and the government defended Air India that joined five other airlines in banning the Osmanabad MP from flying after he assaulted an airline staffer.(HT Photo)

The Shiv Sena threatened on Thursday to stop all flights from Mumbai in protest against the grounding of its controversial lawmaker Ravindra Gaikwad, who drew widespread condemnation over thrashing a senior Air India employee last month.

“If it (the ban) goes on like this, we will not allow aircrafts to take off from Mumbai,” Sena MPs were heard saying in Lok Sabha amid a ruckus over the issue.

Sparks flew in the House as Sena supported Gaikwad and the government defended the national carrier that joined five other airlines in banning the Osmanabad MP from flying.

“If you want to diffuse the situation, we can do it. If you want to aggravate it, you are free to do that. But aircraft safety will not be compromised,” said civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju.

His comments led to such a ruckus that Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House temporarily.

Union minister and Sena MP Anant Geete targeted the Modi government for the flying ban imposed on the MP. “How can this Narendra Modi government impose travel ban on an MP? This ban should be removed.”

Shiv Sena also turned its anger on Air India for banning its MP from flying, into a battle with the BJP. The party demanded the entire incident be probed and action taken against Air India chief and other staff. Gaikwad has tried to fly to Delhi several times under a number of aliases over the past week but has been thwarted every time, forcing the lawmaker to finally take a chartered flight.

First Published: Apr 06, 2017 13:16 IST