- In Parliament, Shiv Sena defends its MP who assaulted Air India employee
- "Kapil Sharma misbehaved on a flight but no ban on him," a Sena MP says
- "Rules same" for all, including an MP, says Aviation Minister
"Kapil Sharma misbehaved on a flight after getting drunk but no ban was imposed on him. Corrupt people are allowed to fly. How can an MP be banned," Sena's Anandrao Adsul questioned in the Lok Sabha.
The government asserted that "rules are the same" for all, including an MP. "Violence on a flight can be disastrous...we cannot compromise safety in airlines," Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said to the Sena, the BJP's estranged ally.
The minister said airlines are empowered to deny boarding to any passenger whose demeanour is incorrect. But "never in the wildest of dreams had I expected an MP to get caught in this," Mr Raju said.
Mr Gaikwad, the Sena's parliamentarian from Osmanabad in Maharashtra, thrashed a 60-year-old Air India Duty Manager, abused him and allegedly tried to push him down a step-ladder during an argument over a business class seat. A day later, barred by every airline, the politician was forced to take a train to Maharashtra but he got off somewhere in Gujarat to avoid the media.
Mr Gaikwad was not just unapologetic about his conduct, but he also bragged later about "hitting the official 25 times".
The Samajwadi Party has backed him. The party's Naresh Agrawal said in the Rajya Sabha that airlines banning Mr Gaikwad "just goes to show their dadagiri (bullying)".
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.