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Ravindra Gaikwad Air India row: Shiv Sena tells govt to make airlines fall in line or warns of boycotting NDA meet

Unmindful of the public opinion against the behaviour of its rowdy MP, Shiv Sena on Thursday unabashedly, unashamedly upped the ante to defend its own by threatening to skip the upcoming National Democratic Alliance meeting on 10 April, if the flying ban on its Lok Sabha member Ravindra Gaikwad is not lifted.

Gaikwad has been banned from flying by several airlines after he allegedly hit an Air India staffer on 23 March. (Watch the video here).

Ravindra Gaikwad. CNN-News18

Ravindra Gaikwad. CNN-News18

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the party tried hard to salvage the situation but instead found a conspiracy to malign the party and Gaikwad. “We realised that all of it was happening because of some pressure. So, we had a meeting with party chief Uddhav Thackeray where he said that we (the party) must fight applying the methods of Shiv Sena. The Parliament was disturbed today. It shouldn’t have happened. But it happened. And in future also, we do not want to disturb Parliament. But Air India and all have targetted the MP. Has he committed a crime? Is he a terrorist? What is his crime?" he said while addressing a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Blaming Air India for attempting to tarnish the image of Shiv Sena and Gaikwad in particular, Raut questioned if the airline companies were justified in banning Gaikwad without a proper investigation.

Saying that Gaikwad's version, which the Shiv Sena MP gave in Parliament on Thursday is the truth, Raut also said that the ball is now in the government's court to find a solution to the problem. “We had a conversation with the Civil Aviation Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh. We have full faith in Singh. We have always respected him. He is an elder. He has committed inside the House. So, he will fulfil it,” Raut said.

Raut said that government has time till 10 April to find a solution to the problem. The Shiv Sena further went on to say that the Shiv Sena will boycott the annual meeting of members of the National Democratic Alliance on 10 April if the issue was not resolved ahead of it. "Uddhav Thackeray is also in support of the boycott," Raut said.

The Shiv Sena MP also labelled Air India as the real culprit in the flying ban on Gaikwad and criticised it for discriminating against an elected member of Parliament. He also criticised airline companies for allegedly applying double standards.

“They are letting criminals fly, they are flying separatists as well as Pakitani artistes. They are also flying rapists too. But Gaikwad can’t fly,” he said.

“And what’s the stature of Air India? One owner of a (private) airline company has worked with Dawood Ibrahim. The carriers helped Vijay Mallya escape. He didn’t fly on his own, did he?” Raut questioned.

The Shiv Sena MP called the flying ban uncalled for and stressed that the law of the land should be followed.

“The have filed cases under IPC sections 360, 307, 324 and 302. We are national workers. If they are going to be under fire, how are they going to treat a common citizen? Is hitting someone with a slipper attempt to murder? Is there even a law for that? Under what law can you ban someone from flying?” he asked.

Updated Date: Apr 06, 2017 17:29 PM

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