BJP lawmaker Sunil Gaikwad has faced airline trouble because of his name
It is not easy to fly these days if you are a parliamentarian and a 'Gaikwad'. BJP lawmaker Sunil Gaikwad has complained of harassment at airports just because he shares his name with a certain violence-prone colleague of the Shiv Sena, Ravindra Gaikwad
, black-listed for beating up an Air India manager. Sunil Gaikwad, who is also a Maharashtra MP, says he was stopped repeatedly at security checks because of his name.
"I had to face hardship due to the Gaikwad surname when I was flying on Friday from Hyderabad to Latur (his constituency)," Mr Gaikwad said today.
The MP said he has taken it up with Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha and told him that every Gaikwad who flies should not be harassed.
Mr Gaikwad's namesake has been banned by Air India and other major airlines after he thrashed an airline manager last Thursday during a row over a business class seat and later bragged about "hitting him 25 times with my slipper".
In the past week, Air India has refused to fly Ravindra Gaikwad twice, after which he was forced to take a train and even drive to Delhi. His party, the Sena, has defended him and accused the airline of behaving like goons.
Sunil Gaikwad says a day after the Ravindra Gaikwad episode, his personal assistant faced a third degree while booking an Air India flight. When the ticket was finally booked, it was in the back, the MP complains. "I had to ask them for a first row ticket after I reached the airport."
The 46-year-old lawmaker says while he has no objections to being screened at airports, this has gone too far. "Whenever I spoke my name at airports, the words 'Gaikwad' and 'Sansad (MP)' became red flags," he said.
Not just the airline, the MP also faced questions in his parliamentary constituency. "They said, but you have never even raised your voice...how could you beat a person so badly?"