As the standoff between Air India and the Shiv Sena over the ban imposed on MP Ravindra Gaikwad continues, Twitter has erupted with cheers and support for the national carrier.
On Friday, Air India once again cancelled tickets booked by Gaikwad between Mumbai and Delhi for later this month. The Hindu reported that a ticket for an April 17 flight from Delhi to Mumbai and another for April 24 from Mumbai to Delhi had been cancelled by Air India.
“Mr. Gaikwad booked the ticket from Air India’s website at around 5 am today. His ticket was immediately cancelled,” The Hindu quoted a spokesperson as saying.
Online a wave of support erupted for the national carrier and its Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani.
Of course, Twitter being Twitter, users could not resist a few tongue-in-cheek takes on the issue as well.
For the first time Air India is screwing up someone's travel plans and everybody is absolutely happy about it!— Nihit K. (@NihitKshatriya) April 7, 2017
The clash between Air India and Gaikwad kicked off after the MP assaulted an employee of the airline on March 23, beating him with a slipper 25 times, in the MP’s own words.
Gaikwad claimed that he was angered as he was forced to fly in Economy class despite holding a Business class ticket. However, Air India claims that the flight in question was an all-Economy flight and the MP was informed of the same. Gaikwad also claims that he assaulted the employee after being repeatedly insulted.
The MP has since submitted a letter of “regret” to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju. He also said in Parliament that he is willing to apologise to Parliament for his behaviour, but will not apologise to the Air India employee. The Shiv Sena has also defiantly stood behind its MP, with party MP Sanjay Raut questioning the rights of Lohani to oppose Gaikwad.
“Who is the Air India chairman before us? He is just a government servant. He should stay in his limits,” Raut was quoted as saying in a news conference on Thursday.