- Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad hit Air India manager last week
- Refuses to apologise, party backs him, airlines ban him
- Air India cancels his Mumbai-Delhi ticket for tomorrow
Air India has pointed out it didn't have an option - the Pune-Delhi flight that Mr Gaikwad opted for does not have a business section, a fact that it says the MP's office was alerted to.
That fact notwithstanding, the Sena has said it is Air India who must introspect over its "poor service". Other parties have agreed that a "blanket ban" on the punch-throwing MP is going too far. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has said the government should find a solution that allows Mr Gaikwad in the air, claiming that sometimes, MPs need to travel by plane to get to parliament.
This evening, he is headed to Delhi on another train to attend parliament. Air India has filed two criminal cases against him; the police said it has questioned 14 people connected to the incident, but has yet to speak to the MP.
Sources in the government say that a plan is being constructed to prevent a blanket ban by airlines on passengers. When the election for the next President of India is held in July, the BJP could do with the 30,000 votes that the Sena has. That has no bearing on how the deviant MP's being handled, said Sanjay Raut, Sena spokesperson. "The two are unrelated. He must be punished under the IPC by the court, but not the airlines. Let the law take its course."