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Grounded Sena MP Gaikwad attacks Air India

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who has been barred by all Indian airlines from flying on their aircraft, targeted the national carrier Air India and accused it of "cheating people and giving poor service", here on Wednesday.

A week after he was grounded following a verbal and physical assault on a 60-year-old Air India staffer on March 23, Gaikwad contended that his grouse was over the inefficiency and bad service provided by the carrier and not for being denied a business class seat for which he held an open ticket.

"The media is showing only one-sided version of Air India, which is misleading...," Gaikwad said.

"On the Pune-New Delhi flight that day, I had the business class ticket and I was also issued a business class boarding pass. Until I boarded... nobody informed me that there was no business class on that flight," he said.

In a statement released on Wednesday, he said he has travelled innumerable times in economy class so he was not inconvenienced even that day.

"I am a simple person leading an ordinary life... I mingle with the poor, farmers, labourers... So my concern was not travelling economy class, but the denial of service matching the tickets issued to passengers."

"In fact, there was a handicapped passenger sitting in the second row so I even offered him my seat in the first row for his comfort... A wrong impression has been created that my reaction was for not getting a business class seat," Gaikwad added in the statement.

Incidentally, after the national carrier cancelled on Tuesday his Mumbai-New Delhi flight ticket, Gaikwad booked himself on a Rajdhani Express, but didn't board the train.

He reportedly dropped off at the last minute to travel by a private vehicle to the national capital and is expected to reach there later on Wednesday.

Sena MP Gaikwad travels by car to Delhi

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who has been barred by all major domestic airlines for assaulting an Air India duty manager, has chosen to travel by road to Delhi for the ongoing Parliament session.

"Gaikwad is reaching Delhi by car today but will not attend the day's proceedings of the Lok Sabha," sources close to the beleaguered Osmanabad MP told PTI.

However, he will attend tomorrow's session if his party leadership allows him to do so, the sources said.

The development came after Gaikwad apparently booked a seat from Hyderabad to Delhi on Flight AI 551 for today, which was cancelled by the national carrier.

He had also booked a seat yesterday on the 8 AM flight, AI 806, from Mumbai to Delhi for today but his ticket was promptly cancelled by the airline.

The MP is accused of beating up an elderly AI staffer with a sandal last Thursday.

Also, there were reports that he took a train from Mumbai to Delhi and was scheduled to reach the national capital today after a TV channel yesterday showed the reservation chart, having his name, pasted on coach A-3 of Rajdhani at the Mumbai Central Railway Station.

However, the sources said he decided to travel by car to Delhi.

"He is not in Maharashtra at present and is expected to reach Delhi anytime today," they said.
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