Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad says he won’t apologies to Air India staffer

New Delhi: An unrepentant Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad today said that he would not apologise to the Air India staffer whom he assaulted, and instead blamed the airline employee for the incident.

The MP drew more flak today, with four private Indian carriers banning him from flying, while Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathy Raju promised that action would be taken against him.

Gaikwad told reporters at the Maharashtra Sadan here this morning that he has no regret over his actions, saying “kaahe ka pashchaataap (what is there to repent)?”

“I will not apologise…he (AI Manager Sukumar) should come and apologise… then we will see. A 60-year-old man should also know how to behave,” he said.

Gaikwad said he went out to watch a Bollywood movie — ‘Badrinath ki Dulhaniya’ — last night to “relax” himself after journalists sought his reaction over the incident.

“Tension-free hona chahiye na…you also watch the movie…it’s very good,” he said.

The first-time lawmaker also said he had made the Parliament “proud”, when asked if his act has brought shame to the temple of democracy.

Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she cannot take suo motu action and that she will take a call if it is brought to her notice in the House.

“I always say every human being should behave in a nice manner with everyone…whosoever it is, your behaviour should be good with everyone. As a mother I would suggest that to everyone. I will understand everything and then I will comment,” she told reporters before entering the house.

Gaikwad also said that he has had no conversation with his party chief Uddhav Thackeray since the incident and added that he has written to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Civil Aviation Minister regarding the incident. Yesterday Gaikwad had repeatedly hit a 60-year-old Air India officer with sandal over being unable to travel business class despite having insisted on boarding an all-economy flight.

The national carrier has filed two FIRs against the MP, while the Shiv Sena has sought an explanation from him. “Police can arrest me…my party, Uddhav saheb will take care of it,” he said. Raju said the incident “should never have happened”.

“It was an unfortunate incident. It should never have happened. What has to happen (now), will happen. I am not saying no action has to be taken. Action has to be taken and we will do it. That is not the problem at all. “I am also an MP. We are not above the law and we have to follow the law of the land,” he told reporters outside the House.

barred Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaekwad, who had assaulted its staffer, from its flights and even cancelled his return ticket to Pune from here, anticipating backlash by its employees. Gaekwad, who has been unapologetic about the incident yesterday, had earlier today said that he will be taking the Air India flight this evening. Air India said it has also written to the Shiv Sena communicating the decision to cancel the ticket. Shiv Sena Secretary Anil Desai told PTI that he has asked Gaekwad to change his travel plans as the party doesn’t want the tensions to escalate.

Gaekwad was booked on Delhi to Pune flight AI 849 scheduled for departure at 4 PM today. “We have intimated Shiv Sena that we can’t fly Gaekwad on his return flight because our employees are agitated. He has assured us that the party will advise the MP not to fly Air India today,” said an Air India source. “Our airport employees have said that they won’t attend to him and they won’t let him enter. In order to avoid any violence, we have written to Shiv Sena,” he added.

Gaekwad told TV channels this morning, “I am booked on a 4 PM flight to Pune. I will take that flight. How can they not let me travel when I have a booking and I am their passenger.” Desai, also an MP, said that he has “acceded” to Air India’s request and has also asked Gaekwad to “change his travel plans”. “An Air India official called me that their staff is upset over the issue. I have acceded to their request by asking my MP not to go ahead with his plan to fly Air India today,” said Desai . “I have also asked him to change his travel plans. We don’t intend to escalate the tension,” he added.

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