In a shocking upheaval in parliament today, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had to be shielded as he was nearly surrounded by Shiv Sena members angry over his firm refusal to intervene on the flying ban on Ravindra Gaikwad.
The letter, according to official sources, followed a meeting in Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's chamber in Parliament where Shiv Sena MPs were told that if Gaikwad issued a statement committing that he would not engage in any such incident in future, the government could intervene and have the ban revoked.
The MP, who had attended the Lok Sabha for the first time yesterday since the incident, had denied any "wrongdoing" on his part and instead accused Air India officials of misbehaving with him, and sought action against them, especially the airline's CMD.
There were reports that Gaikwad again tried to book AI tickets this morning for April 17, which the airlines cancelled.
An Indian politician who attacked a flight steward after being refused a business class seat caused uproar in parliament Thursday by demanding his ban on air travel be overturned. "I am staring at a ban across all airlines", Gaikwad said and claimed that the charges against him were "unfounded" and should be taken back. Civil Aviation Minister Raju, however, said safety was paramount in a flight.
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Following a ban by Air India, post the incident, all Indian airlines banned him. In the interim, Air India plans to tighten security at Mumbai and Pune in the wake of threat by Shiv Sena to stall its operations.
"As I have said the incident has ended well which means everything is fine now". ANI sources said that private carriers were also likely to revoke the ban on Gaikwad, following Air India's lead.
Earlier today, the Shiv Sena threatened to boycott the NDA meeting if the ruling dispensation failed to resolve the matter by April 10.
"Do you think the way our MP was heckled (by Air India staff) justified?"
Gaikwad had sent a regret letter to the Aviation Minister yesterday, following which the ban was revoked, reported the news agencies. "I will not apologize.he [AI Manager Sukumar] should come and apologize. then we will see. Are you?'" said the MP, alleging that the airline staffer held him by the collar, after which he pushed him. After the Pune-Delhi flight landed, he said, he asked for the complaints register. Before the adjournment, Gaikwad apologised for his behaviour in the lower house of the Parliament and playing the victim card said "What crime have I done that without probe I am being subjected to a media trial?"