Will say sorry to Parliament, not Air India official, says Ravindra Gaikwad

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Ravi-AshokLok Sabha proceedings were adjourned twice when Shiv Sena members created ruckus protesting against the flying ban against Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who had recently hit an Air India official 25 times with his slipper.

Gaikwad demanded that the flying ban on him should be lifted. Presenting his defence in the Lok Sabha, he said, “I apologise to Parliament, but not to the 60-year-old AI employee. What wrong did I do?”

“Even the air hostess has given a statement that the incident happened because of the airline staff’s misbehaviour. There is a video as well.”

While Shiv Sena members egged him on, Gaikwad wanted to know why he flew economy when he booked a business-class ticket. The manager and other officials reportedly explained that the entire plane was operated as an economy-only flight, following which he lost his cool, he said.

Coming to Gaikwad’s rescue, his party members said he was provoked by the AI employee who asked him, “Who do you think you are? The PM?”

“It was only after he insulted the PM and Parliament that I got upset and hit him,” he said. “If the dignity of Parliament has been hurt, I apologise to the House.”

While this was so, party leader Anant Geete asked how a charge of attempt to murder can be slapped against the MP. “The incident must be investigated properly. How can the government put restrictions on an MP without knowing the truth?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju said, “Safety shouldn’t be compromised. Gaikwad must remember that the ban was not for an MP, but a passenger. Let the law take its own course. It depends if you want to aggravate or defuse the situation.”