Shiv Sena MPs led by Anant Geete were seen almost charging at Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
New Delhi: In unprecedented scenes in parliament today, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had to be shielded as he was almost surrounded by Shiv Sena members angry over his firm refusal to intervene on the flying ban on their colleague Ravindra Gaikwad, who had assaulted an airline manager two weeks ago in a fight over a business class seat. The dramatic developments that were off camera because of a break in the Lok Sabha, saw Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other ministers rushing to Mr Raju's side and to help save the situation.
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As soon as the house was adjourned over Shiv Sena protests, Shiv Sena MPs led by Anant Geete were seen almost charging at Mr Raju. "No flight will take off from Mumbai from tomorrow," Mr Geete shouted repeatedly at the aviation minister, who did not react.
As Mr Geete kept thumping Mr Raju's desk and other belligerent Sena MPs stood facing him, Rajnath Singh and others with him felt the situation getting out of hand and rushed to shield the minister.
The BJP's SS Ahluwalia ushered the minister out of the house as Mr Singh and another minister, Smriti Irani, were seen trying to reason with Mr Geete.
Mr Singh later said that the Civil Aviation Minister would talk to all stakeholders to reach an amicable solution at the earliest.
The Sena reinforced his request that the flying ban be removed, but Mr Raju stood his ground as he said, "The law should take its course. Aircraft are machines where people fly and safety is important. Safety will not be compromised."
"Under what provision of law can a passenger be banned?" demanded a Trinamool MP, backing Mr Gaikwad.
Last month, Mr Gaikwad, the Sena's MP from Osmanabad in Maharashtra, flew on Air India from Pune to Delhi, then refused to leave the plane for an hour while he demanded an explanation for not being given a business class seat.