Mumbai: State carrier Air India today barred Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who had assaulted its staffer, from its flights and even cancelled his return ticket to Pune from Delhi, anticipating backlash by its employees. Gaikwad, 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 media that he has asked Gaikwad to change his travel plans as the party doesn’t want the tensions to escalate. Gaikwad 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 Gaikwad 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.
Gaikwad 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 Gaikwad 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.