Shiv Sena legislator Ravindra Gaikwad has been caught trying to book Air India flight tickets by changing the spelling of his name after the airline imposed a ban on him for assaulted a staff member on March 23. Since then, the politician has made several attempts to fly to Delhi, reported The Times of India, but has been blocked each time.
One of his strategies is adding honorifics to his name while booking tickets. “Ravindra Gaikwad, R Gaikwad, Prof V Ravindra Gaikwad and Prof Ravindra Gaikwad has been banned in our system as he tried booking using different abbreviation,” an unidentified Air India official told Hindustan Times. “In some cases he tried changing spellings of Gaikwad also. We are scanning all the details as bookings are made through a coupon issued by Parliament.” He has also tried booking tickets through an agent, but this did not work out when the airline realised who the customer was.
Other airlines had also decided to bar the MP in solidarity with Air India. One of his flight tickets was cancelled by Indigo on March 24.
Gaikwad had assaulted a 60-year-old Air India manager for not getting him a business-class seat on a Pune-Delhi flight, though it was economy-only. Moreover, he had refused to apologise for his behaviour and has so far held that the victim should apologise to him instead. “Kaahe ka pashchaataap [what is there to repent]?” he said on Thursday. “I will not apologise...he [Sukumar] should come and apologise. Then we will see. A 60-year-old man should know how to behave.”
Gaikwad’s party had sought the Lok Sabha speaker’s intervention in the matter so that he could fly again. Sumitra Mahajan held meetings with Shiv Sena MPs and the aviation minister, but the airlines have refused to budge so far.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Sunil Gaikwad has complained of harassment at airports because of his surname. According to him, he was stopped multiple times for security checks.