Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad has been at the receiving end of criticism after the Osmanabad MP admitted to hitting an Air India staffer with a slipper for not processing his request on the seating arrangement. In a video that surfaced on Thursday, Gaikwad can be seen assaulting the staffer despite requests from other AI employees. “You are a role model. You are our representative, you are a democratic leader . We have elected you. Please don’t do anything for a stupid man,” another AI staffer could be heard telling the Lok Sabha MP.
Following the incident, the victim submitted his complaint to the airline claiming that the MP hurled abuses at him. “R Gaikwad hit me, used bad words and not only broke my specs but humiliated me in front of the whole crew,” he wrote. “God save our country if this is the culture and behavior of our MPs.” Gaikwad, however, defended himself saying that it was the AI employee who misbehaved with him. “Haan maine usko maara tha, usne badtameezi ki thi (Yes, I hit him. He misbehaved with me).”
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena has asked the MP to provide an explanation for the incident. “The party has sought an explanation from Gaikwad over the incident. The Sena does not condone violence of any kind,” Harshal Pradhan, media adviser to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, told news agency PTI. “We have also sought a version of the incident from the Air India (AI) staffer. The Sena has a workers’ union in Air India,” he said. Earlier, a Sena spokesperson had said that though the party “does not subscribe to such reaction by any of our party members”, Gaikwad “is not a person who would suddenly jump into such a thing.”