The Samajwadi Party on Tuesday defended Ravindra Gaikwad and criticised all major airlines for imposing a blanket ban on the Shiv Sena lawmaker following his altercation with an Air India employee. Speaking to ANI, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Aggarwal said, “An Air India employee filed a complaint against Ravindra Gaikwad and on the basis of that police will investigate. During investigation if Ravindra Gaikwad is found guilty then a charge-sheet will be filed in the court and trail will begin.” “Had charge-sheet been filed against him, I would have condemned Gaikwad for his actions. But this is not the case. When we complain, merely an investigation is initiated, but when the employees complain we are persecuted without any investigation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gaikwad, yesterday, issued said in a statement that the Air India is trying to misguide everyone as to what transpired which triggered the altercation onboard the aircraft. The Osmanabad MP said that he never demanded a Business Class seat, but instead requested a complaint book to address his grievance about ‘substandard service’. Gaikwad said that while travelling in the flight, he noticed “carelessness and substandard” service of Air India and requested for a complaint book, but despite his frequent requests he was not provided the complaint book, instead the staffer misbehaved with him. “I was demanding proper facilities not the business class seat. But just to hide their carless attitude and cheating towards lakhs of Air India passengers, they tried to create a picture that I was continuously demanding for business class seat. This is completely baseless,” he said.
Gaikwad on Friday submitted a complaint against Air India before the Delhi Police alleging that he was pushed and yelled on. In his complaint, Gaikwad, who allegedly manhandled Air India staffer, said he was made to travel by Air India on economy class even as he had business class ticket. The Shiv Sena is also likely to bring a privilege motion in the Parliament over the issue of Gaikwad being put in ‘no fly list’ of all airlines.
Air India and six private airlines banned the 56-year-old MP from flying as he refused to apologise for the incident that triggered the incident. Anandrao Adsul of the Shiv Sena raised the issue of the ban imposed on R Gaikwad by airlines in Lok Sabha, saying “I hope you (Speaker) will raise it with government”. After being blacklisted by the top airlines, Gaikwad had to board a train to Mumbai earlier on Friday evening. Taking note of the issue Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan yesterday called for resolving the issue of ‘flying ban’ imposed by several airlines through amicable talks. “MPs need to attend Parliament and they cannot travel by train always. At times, they need to travel by plane also. I feel that this issue (blanket ban) should be resolved amicably through talks,” said Mahajan after a meeting attended by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Sena MPs.