New Delhi: Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad on Thursday assaulted an Air India official with a slipper here after he was forced to travel economy class though he had an open business class ticket.
A defiant Gaikwad admitting to beating the unnamed airline staffer "25 times" with his slipper after accusing the latter of misbehaving with him after the flight landed in Delhi.
The incident happened when flight AI852 from Pune reached Delhi around 10.30 a.m.
Apparently nursing a grouse, Gaikwad - who represents Osmanabad in Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha - refused to get off the flight, causing inconvenience to other passengers and crew on board.
Air India sent some officials to enquire what the matter was and learnt that the Shiv Sena leader was upset he had to travel economy class though he held an open executive class ticket.
When they requested him to get up and deboard, Gaikwad reportedly flared up and assaulted a staffer with his slipper, official sources said.
As news of the attack spread, condemnation poured in.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said: "Such acts need to be condemned. No one can condone this, no one can support this."
The minister said if the MP had a grievance, he should have simply written to the airline.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) demanded that Gaikwad should be sacked from Parliament.
Gaikwad was also trolled on social media for his unruly conduct and some people asked the Shiv Sena to take action against him.
The MP accused the Air India staffer of abusing him.
"He said he will complain to (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi," he told the media. "What Modi? I am from Shiv Sena, not BJP."
He added he had lodged a complaint with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Later, Gaikwad deboarded the flight.
The sources said the flight was operated by an old ATR aircraft which has only economy class configuration. So he could not have been allotted a business class seat.