New Delhi: A Shiv Sena parliamentarian has been named in two FIRs or police complaints by Air India after he thrashed a 60-year-old airline employee with his slipper during an argument over a business class seat this morning. An unrepentant Ravindra Gaikwad bragged to reporters, "I hit him 25 times with my sandal."
The national carrier has decided to prepare a "no-fly" list of unruly passengers, say sources.
When Mr Gaikwad's flight from Pune landed in Delhi around 10.30 am, he refused to get off the plane for nearly an hour.
The lawmaker was reportedly upset about travelling economy when he has an open business class ticket that he is entitled to as a member of Parliament.
The morning flight he took was all-economy, but that failed to mollify him.
As he refused to budge or let the staff prepare the plane for its next flight, Customer Relations Manager Shiv kumar was called in. "I told him you are a senior person and asked him to sit down and BP mat badao (control your blood pressure). I said I am an MP, don't raise your voice. He said 'what MP? I will talk to (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi', so I hit him. I am not here to take abuse...I am not from the BJP," the lawmaker shrugged.
Mr Shivkumar has alleged that he was "humiliated in front of the entire crew, his shirt was torn and spectacle broken" by the MP. The airline has filed complaints accusing Mr Gaikwad of assaulting its staff as well as delaying the next flight.
Mr Gaikwad, 57, is a first-time lawmaker from Maharashtra and no stranger to controversy. In 2014, he was among a group of Sena members who tried to force-feed a Muslim employee of Maharashtra Sadan during Ramzan, complaining about bad food.
The MP has been skewered on social media and by various parties including ally BJP.
"Elected representatives need to respect people who are doing their job, irrespective of whether the Air India man was rude," said BJP leader Shaina NC.