On Thursday, Lok Sabha witnessed chaos as Shiv Sena defended its MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who has been banned by airlines after he allegedly beat up Air India staff.
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 Gaikwad.
Sena members created a ruckus, protesting Raju’s response to Gaikwad’s statement.
Union Minister Anant Geete too joined in the loud protests, calling the ban a “one-sided decision” which was “shameful and tragic”.
Several BJP leaders, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, tried to placate Geete and his colleagues.
The Home Minister sought to defuse the crisis by telling the House that the Civil Aviation Minister will talk to “all stakeholders to reach an amicable solution.”
In all the confusion, Congress members were heard shouting “shame, shame” over the chaos in the House while Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) joined Sena members in criticising Raju, asking under what law Gaikwad has been barred from flying.
Sena MPs were upset with Raju’s brief response where he said that an aircraft can’t differentiate between an MP and an ordinary passenger.
“Aircraft is a machine where people fly. Safety is important. Safety cannot be compromised,” Raju said, apparently justifying the ban on Gaikwad.
Raju said it was up to Gaikwad to decide if he wanted to defuse the matter or aggravate it, asserting that what has already happened was as per the law.
On his part, Gaikwad defended himself in his statement while he sought a removal of the ban imposed on him by domestic airlines. He denied any wrongdoing and accused Air India officials of misbehaving with him. He sought action against them, especially the airline’s CMD.
He tendered an apology to Parliament but insisted that he owed no apology to the airline officials. He sought justice saying he has been held guilty without a probe and was made a victim of media trial.
Gaikwad claimed he just pushed an official only after he was pushed around.
He also hit out at the Delhi Police for charging him under Section 308 of the IPC, which he claimed was invoked when the crime is “attempt to murder”. He demanded that the charge should be quashed.
(With inputs from PTI)