BJP-Sena stalemate over Gaikwad ends; Flying ban lifted

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad at Parliament during the budget session, in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

New Delhi: Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad at Parliament during the budget session, in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

A day after the bitter confrontation between BJP and Shiv Sena over the flying ban issued to Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, a resolution has been reached – the flying ban imposed on Gaikwad has been lifted.

Air India revoked its flight ban on Gaikwad with immediate effect, two weeks after he allegedly beat up an airline staffer onboard a plane.

The ban was lifted only after a written order from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, said an airline spokesperson.

Sources say that private airlines will follow Air India and soon lift the ban on the MP.

The 56-year-old MP from Osmanabad had written a letter to Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju expressing his “regrets” over the “unfortunate incident” on March 23.

“I write to convey my regrets for the unfortunate incident that took place on 23rd March, 2017 in the Air India Flight No. AI-852 seat No.1F,” Gaikwad had said in the letter.

On Thursday, Gaikwad in his statement in Lok Sabha, had denied assaulting any airline staff. In fact he alleged that he was misbehaved with and only retaliated when provoked. He also sought action against Air India officials, especially the airline’s CMD.

He did tender an apology to Parliament but insisted he owed no apology to the airline officials.

It was Gaikwad’s first day in Lok Sabha post the incident. Shiv Sena members, including Anant Geete created ruckus demanding the BJP MPs to revoke the ban on Gaikwad. The protesting MPs even surrounded the Civil Aviation Minister, refusing to accept his clarification that law will take its own course in the matter.

Several BJP minsters were even seen placating Anant Geete and Home Minister Rajnath Singh also assured him that an amicable solution will be reached after all stakeholders hold talks.

Sena had also threatened to disrupt flight operations at Mumbai and Pune airports. The party had also declared it would not attend the April 10 meeting of the NDA if the ban was not lifted soon.

(With inputs from PTI)