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2-min read

Here's How Minister Raju Was 'Saved' From Sena MPs in Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha on Thursday witnessed an altercation between two minister over the airline travel ban on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:April 6, 2017, 2:38 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Thursday witnessed an altercation between two ministers over the airline travel ban on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad.

Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises Anant Geete entered into altercation with civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju after the latter in a statement defended the ban saying that security comes first as far as airline travel is concerned.

ALSO READ | Air India Staffer Said 'You're MP, Not Modi': Gaikwad Presents Defence in LS

The two nearly came to blows before Smriti Irani and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh intervened and caught hold of Geete, the lone Shiv Sena minister in the Union cabinet, before he reached Raju.

SS Ahluwalia, the MoS for Parliamentary Affairs, had to push Shiv Sena MPs aside to rescue Raju. Opposition MPs stood up to bring the incident to the Speaker's attention, leading to an adjournment.

“Aircraft are machines on which people fly and safety is paramount which can never be compromised,” the aviation minister said, explaining the grounding of Gaikwad.

Geete questioned how Air India could ban an MP without even an investigation.

Earlier, Gaikwad, an MP from Osamanabad in Maharashtra, told the Lok Sabha that he had done no wrong. "I am not guilty, I have not done anything wrong.”

He claimed that he did not thrash anyone and did not create any ruckus inside the aircraft.

After the incident last month, Gaikwad had told reporters that he had hit the Air India staffer with a slipper 25 times.

“I am accused of pushing Air India staff out of the plane. How can they charge me under attempt to murder when I haven’t done anything like that? I demand strong action be taken against Air India," he said.

Asking that the ban be removed, he gave a conditional apology to the Parliament. However, he said he will not apologise to Air India. “I apologise for my behavior, but I am not apologetic to the airline official who abused and manhandled me, and spoke in a derogatory manner about parliamentarians and the prime minister.”

"It was only after he insulted the PM and the Parliament that I got upset and hit him. Only that clip was shown to the public," he added.

Agitated Shiv Sena MPs also tried to gherao the aviation minister. Following the incident, the Speaker held a meeting with the two ministers along with Singh and MoS Home Ahir Hansraj Gangaram to resolve the spat.

Speaking to CNN-News18, Geete said: “We will not allow flights to operate from Mumbai.”

Reacting to the incident, Rajnath Singh said: “I have spoken to Geete and the aviation minister. The latter will meet all stakeholders and work out a solution soon.”

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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