Security at the IGI airport here was stepped up and activists armed themselves with roses and slippers to greet Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad but he was a ‘no-show’ following a ban on him by the domestic airlines. Gaikwad had, earlier today, said that he would go ahead with his travel plan and take a return flight on Air India to Pune even if the airline cancels his ticket for this evening for assaulting one of its employee yesterday.
Carrying roses and slippers, members of Aam Aadmi Sena, a splinter group of Aam Aadmi Party, were also present at the airport.
They said they had come to the airport to ask for an apology from the Shiv Sena legislator, who lost his cool and beat up an Air India staffer with his slippers.
“We will first resort to Gandhigiri by giving a flower to the MP and ask for an apology. If he doesn’t do that we will use the slippers and give him the same treatment he gave yesterday to the Air India employee.”
Both CISF and Delhi Police personnel were seen in large numbers at the airport.
“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,” Gaikwad had threatened this morning while speaking to TV channels.
However, both security personnel and activists of Aam Aadmi Sena dispersed soon after when the MP did not turn up at the airport.
Air India today cancelled his return ticket. The MP then booked himself on an IndiGo flight for 5.50 PM but the budget airline, too, refused to take him onboard and refunded his money.
All domestic airlines have barred Gaikwad from flying on their flights with immediate effect. These include, Air India, Indigo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir, Vistara and AirAsia India.
Passengers at the airport, too, condemned the politician’s behaviour.
“The incident highlights how elected representatives misuse their power. It shows the way in which they misuse their power. Such people should be banned from travelling for at least a year so that they know the importance of good conduct,” Rohan Malhotra, a techie, said.
He also suggested that airlines could think of rating frequent flyers on the basis of their behaviour.
Priyadarshini R Sundar, a marketing manager said, “The MP’s behaviour is not justifiable in any manner. The hesitation on the part of the police to press charges against him is even more appalling.”
“If people think they can have their way just because of their political clout and the law enforcement agencies also play party to it, it sends out a wrong message,” she added.