Lok Sabha MP Ravindra Gaikwad’s quarrel with Air India took a surprise turn on March 26. An eye-witness (the air hostess) seen in the video came out in support of the MP. This was expected to happen because it was clear from day one that the mainstream media, especially Times Now, was showing just one side of the story. They even presented a twisted, edited interview with the MP to show him under bad light.
A small clip released after the incident showed Gaikwad arguing, and pushing Air India’s staff. Air hostess in question can be seen urging the MP to control his behavior. This was constantly played by news channels and it created a wrong impression about the whole incident.
But, on March 26, the air hostess came out in support of the Lok Sabha MP from Osmanabad and agreed that the incident turned violent because of Air India’s staff. She recently interacted with journalists and made it clear that crew members had provoked Gaikwad, forcing him to retaliate.
Marathi news channel-Zee 24 Taas recently released some unseen footage that clearly shows how AI’s employees provoked, pushed, abused, and were even planning to thrash MP Ravindra Gaikwad.
“Let’s take him inside the plane and thrash him, there is no one here to help him,” said one of the crew members in Hindi.
“You are extremely arrogant,” Gaikwad can be heard saying.
While convincing the MP to sit down, the air hostess said-“You have worked hard to reach this position. You are our representative, you are a democratic leader, and we have elected you. Please don’t do anything silly for this stupid man. He is mad.”
During her interaction with journalists, she pointed out that the MP wanted to meet the duty manager as he had to travel in economy class in spite of being issued a ticket and boarding class for J-Class. This was the reason that triggered an argument between Gaikwad and the ground staff.
“He was not violent while on board and was very courteous to the crew. He called me sister, so, I was sure that he won’t hit me if I intervened. He wanted the senior management to hear his concern and did not aim to throw out Sukumar. The MP took his slipper out only after the physical entanglement and argument which was triggered when Sukumar used incorrect language while addressing the MP.”
The video has also raised questions about the way Air India’s employees treat passengers as many frequent travelers have come ahead with similar complaints since the incident.
Initially, Shiv Sena was hesitating to support its MP. But, after the statement made by the witness (air hostesses) as well as looking at the first half of the video, it’s expected that the party will come out on streets to protest against the national airline that already has a horrible reputation. Both, the MP and Shiv Sena are expected to file defamation cases against AI and bring a privilege motion in the parliament soon.
Airlines decided to add the Lok Sabha MP to the no-fly list without waiting for police investigation results. From day one, Osmanabad Lok Sabha MP has maintained that the airline’s staff needs to apologize, and not him. But people probably do not wish to trust him as he represents the party that elite, mainstream media and the BJP dislikes the most.
(It’s logical, why would BJP leaders come out to defend Gaikwad when Shiv Sena Chief constantly criticizes the PM?)
Plus, the former teacher from Osmanabad cannot speak fluent English in front of journalists. He does not look like Shashi Tharoor and does not participate in English debates.
Thankfully, leading Marathi newsgroups recently took the initiative to present the reality in front of the people instead of one-sided hate stories. Even senior Congress leaders have shared the opinion that AI’s staff members were equally guilty.
He was twice elected as an MLA and was in the headlines last time when he forced Maharashtra Sadan’s Muslim staffer to eat while fasting. The MP is well known for working towards solving water and electricity problems in his constituency.
Shiv Sena has submitted the complete video clip to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Civil Aviation Minister A-Gajapathi Raju. The saffron party has demanded the ministry to immediately dismiss all the involved Air India employees.
What did Sukumar say to Ravindra Gaikwad? Why did journalists release just one part of the video and kept the other half under wraps? Was this done intentionally to target the Shiv Sena MP and to get an opportunity to run a hate campaign against the party? Should Gaikwad be considered guilty just because he is from Shiv Sena?
Anyway, the center has assured a probe in this matter and Delhi police team has already gathered all the video footage as well as statements of eye-witnesses. Hope cops declare their findings soon.