The Shiv Sena on Monday demanded to revoke flying ban on its MP saying the airlines were adopting double standards as they had not taken any action against comedian Kapil Sharma for alleged misbehaviour during a flight from Australia.
"Kapil Sharma misbehaved on a flight after getting drunk but no ban was imposed on him. Corrupt people are allowed to fly. How can an MP be banned," Shiv Sena's Anandrao Adsul said in the Lok Sabha.
The issue of the assault of an Air India staffer by Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad reverberated in Parliament today with the government admonishing the Lok Sabha member for indulging in violence on the flight.
The government justified the action by major airlines as Shiv Sena demanded the revocation of the ban on Gaikwad.
Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju said, "I never in my wildest dreams thought that an MP will get caught in such an incident,” while emphasising that "violence of any kind can be disastrous for airlines."
Referring to an earlier incident of violence by an MP against an airline staffer last year, Raju said following that episode, the DGCA had come out with safety guidelines. The same guidelines were invoked in the case of Gaikwad who has been barred from flying by all the major airlines.
The issue was raised by members of the Shiv Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP, who created uproar in the House and at one point of time, engaged in a verbal duel with Congress members who slammed Ravindra Gaikwad for his action.
The Shiv Sena's Leader in the House Anandrao Adsul, who raised the issue, said he was only seeking lifting of the ban on flying imposed on Gaikwad by airlines after he assaulted a 60-year-old duty manager of Air India on March 23.
Adsul said the ban was against the Constitution and the law and that the government must intervene immediately.
He also talked about privileges of the MPs, responding to which the minister said, "An MP is also a passenger...We have to keep safety issues in mind."
Adsul referred to a recent incident of alleged misbehaviour by comedian Kapil Sharma during a flight from Australia and wondered why no action was taken against him.
To this, Raju said, "We cannot have an unequal approach" but did not elaborate.
With the minister giving no positive response, the Shiv Sena members expressed their unhappiness by trooping into the Well of the House.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told them that it was not right.
"Message achha nahi jaa rahi hai (The message going out is not good)... This is not the way," she said and told the agitating members to discuss and resolve their issues with the Civil Aviation Minister.
The Speaker said the Shiv Sena members were trying to support something that is "wrong".
"Being a public representative, the incident he (Gaikwad) was involved in, does not send the right message," she said. "Mujhe zyaada bholne pe majhboor na kare (Don't force me to speak more on the issue)," Mahajan said.
The 57-year-old MP had on Thursday allegedly abused and assaulted a 60-year-old duty manager of Air India R Sukumar with slippers for not being able to fly business class despite having boarded an all-economy Pune-New Delhi flight.
The official was repeatedly hit with sandals when he persuaded the MP to disembark after the plane landed at the IGI airport from Pune following which two FIRs were registered against him by the Delhi police on the basis of the complaint lodged by Air India.
Meanwhile, Gaikwad's supporters today called for a bandh in Osmanabad's district to protest his "humiliation" over the incident.