Shiv Sena MP beating up Air India staffer is a case of entitlement Indians suffer

Will we ever get to see such errant politicians being reined in?

 |  4-minute read |   24-03-2017
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Lawmakers and people's representatives abusing power and getting away with it have become such a common happenstance in the country that very soon it might become the next code of conduct for holding public offices.

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad on March 23 did the unexpected (but not imaginable because he is a habitual offender) when he refused to deboard an Air India flight he was travelling by from Pune to Delhi after reaching the IGI airport. When airline staff members tried to convince him to deboard, the lawmaker got into an argument for around 40 minutes, and  finally ended up thrashing a 60-year-old duty manager with his slippers. The accused admitted to hitting the victim 25 times.

The cause of his ire was — he was denied a business-class seat despite having a ticket for that. But Gaikwad, according to airline officials, insisted on taking the all-economy class plane, which was flying early morning from Pune to Delhi.

"The MP turned violent, broke the duty manager's spectacles, tore his shirt and hit him with slippers several times," airline sources were quoted as saying.

The Lok Sabha MP later told India Today that he was not guilty of anything and won't apologise to anyone. On the contrary, he demanded an apology from the airline officials for the "treatment meted out to him".

He even said that he lost his cool after the duty manager threatened to go to Modi. "How can a 'chillar aadmi' take the prime minister's name like that? He should be more respectful and say prime minister Narendra Modiji."

So, what leads to such audacity and blatant misuse of power?

In a video footage that surfaced later on Thursday night, a woman AI staffer was seen pleading with him as he attempted to push the victim out of the plane, down the stairs on the tarmac.

"You're a role model, no? If you throw him out it will be a murder case."

In her bid to save the 60-year-old duty manager, she even told the MP "why do you want to go to jail for a stupid man. He is stupid, let him go".

The desperation in her voice was enough to show how vulnerable we are and the threat that the common man (sorry, Gaikwad calls them chillar aadmi) faces from people in power.

Is this what they have been voted to power for?

While an association of airlines has decided that Gaikwad will not be allowed on flights "with immediate effect",  the Air India too reportedly has cancelled the Osmanabad MP's ticket to fly on Friday from Delhi to Pune.

But is that enough to stop him from displaying such errant behaviour in future? 

Not really. 

Because the  MP, who had earlier tried to stuff chapatis down a Muslim caterer’s throat during Ramzan on the grounds of poor quality of food, doesn't care if the law catches up with him.

So, why do we allow such people to represent us? Why do we ignore all past records of a leader despite so many disclaimers (that they put while filing their nomination papers for elections)? As far as his party and the government are concerned, it will perhaps be extremely naive of us to expect politicians to own up responsibility for their/or their colleague's action.

Also read: Kicking of disabled man by railway police shows how men in uniform misuse power

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