Unrepentant Shiv Sena MP grounded, risks suspension

A member of Parliament’s Joint Committee on security, Ravindra Gaikwad, a first-time MP but twice an MLA in Maharashtra, could face suspension from the Lok Sabha after refusing to apologise

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

NH Political Bureau

Even as Air India cancelled his return ticket to Pune on Friday evening and five other private airlines refused to fly him after Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad (57) allegedly assaulted an AI Duty Officer, tearing his shirt buttons and breaking his glasses, the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha could suspend the MP for his misconduct.

The MP had refused to come out of the Air India plane after landing in New Delhi on Wednesday morning, complaining of poor service. He had alleged that since he had a Business Class ticket, the airlines should not have made him fly in the Economy class.

Air India’s early morning flight from Pune to Delhi, however, did not have a Business Class and this was conveyed to the MP’s staff before he boarded the plane.

There was outrage at the first-time MP’s behaviour and he was mocked on micro blogging site Twitter, with people advising him to buy a train ticket back to Pune before he got barred from travelling in trains as well.

The first-time MP is apparently known for his violent behaviour and had hit the headlines in 2015 after he complained of allegedly poor quality of the food served at Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, where he tried to force-feed a fasting employee chapatis.

The Federation of Indian Airlines, which has Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir as its members, took the decision on Friday to bar Gaikwad from flying", an FIA source said.

Budget carrier IndiGo said it would support any move which bars unruly passengers from flying, a day after Air India said it was mulling preparing a no-fly list for such people. "We will support a no-fly list," IndiGo President and Whole Time Director Aditya Ghosh told PTI.

In January, IndiGo was forced to tie down a passenger to his seat for being violent on board one of its flights from Dubai headed for New Delhi.

According to aviation officials, between July 2016 and February 2017, 53 incidents of unruly behaviour by passengers were reported by domestic airlines.

According to the global aviation body, International Air Transport Association (IATA), "unruly passengers" are one of the top three safety issues that concern cabin crew.

As per the IATA, in 2015, there were 10,854 reported cases of unruly behaviour by passengers across airlines worldwide, which translate into one incident for every 1,205 flights.

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