Barred by airlines, Sena MP takes train to Mumbai

New Delhi: After being barred by airlines for assaulting an Air India employee, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad had to take a train to Mumbai where he has been summoned by his part chief Uddhav Thackeray.

The grounded Member of Parliament boarded the first class coach of August Kranti Express from Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station to Mumbai Central at around 5 p.m. on Friday, a railway official said. 

"On reaching Mumbai, he (Gaikwad) will meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who has summoned him," Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai told IANS.

Lok Sabha member from Osmanabad in Maharashtra, Gaikwad assaulted Air India officer R. Sukumar on board an aircraft on Thursday.

In an unprecedented step, Air India and all private carriers refused to fly Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad over his misconduct with the officer of the national flag carrier.

But the Sena MP remained defiant and refused to apologise for repeatedly beating and trying to push down Sukumar from the aircraft. He also dared Delhi Police to arrest him and alleged that it was Sukumar who hit him first.

"Air India and member airlines have decided to ban this MP from flying on all our flights with immediate effect," the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) said in a statement earlier in the day.

"We believe that exemplary action should be taken in such incidents to protect employee morale and public safety," said FIA Associate Director Ujjwal Dey.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association sought an unconditional apology from Gaikwad and threatened to direct its members "not to operate any flight which has Gaikwad on board". The Sena leader earlier vowed to fly back to Pune, but Air India cancelled his ticket.

Besides Air India, the airlines which won't allow Gaikwad to fly as FIA members are IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Go Air. AirAsia and Vistara, which are not with FIA, have also joined them.

Gaikwad on Thursday beat Sukumar repeatedly with a slipper after he was forced to travel in Economy Class from Pune to Delhi despite holding a Business Class ticket.