In an unprecedented move in parliament today, Shiv Sena lawmaker Anant Geete went charging at Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who had refused to intervene on the flying ban on MP Ravindra Gaikwad for assaulting a staff of Air India.
The two nearly came to blows before Smriti Irani and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh intervened and caught hold of Anant Geete, the lone Shiv Sena minister in the Union Cabinet, before he reached Raju.
SS Ahluwalia, the MoS for Parliamentary Affairs, also had to intervene and push Shiv Sena lawmakers aside to rescue Raju. Opposition MPs stood up to bring the incident to the Speaker’s attention, leading to an adjournment.
The row rapidly escalated just moments after Ravindra Gaikwad presented his version of the Air India incident in parliament and said he had only shoved the employee when he insulted MPs.
The incident has once again ignited a debate on whether it is a political party or an extremist organisation. The kind of ‘goondagardi’ which Sena leaders display on several occasion clearly highlights that Shiv Sena is masquerading hooliganism with politics.
The unruly behaviour by its leaders proves that the Sena doesn’t care about anyone and they will keep indulging in hooliganism and ‘mob justice’.
Being unapologetic over the deeds of his party MP, Anant Geete gave an open threat that now no flight will take off from Mumbai. Such kinds of statements from a Union Minister aren’t expected, however, if we talk about Shiv Sena, then ‘Thokshahi’ (violence), as the Sena proudly calls it, has become the hallmark of the party and of its offshoots.
Apologise? But why?
As almost everyone spluttered in rage at the Shiv Sena’s blatant defence of their behaviour – senior party leader Sanjay Raut also came in support of Gaikwad and reportedly said that his side of the story is being suppressed.
This is the classic Sena behaviour. Vandalism and bullying are what its leaders believe in and preach it to the party members. It seems that the word sorry isn’t in their dictionary, instead, they’ll create more ruckus when it comes to an apology.
The Sena has alleged a breach of the MP’s privilege, as he has been barred not just by the national carrier but even private airlines.
Time to check the Sena and its ‘sainiks’?
It’s high time that stern actions should be taken against the Shiv Sena leaders who indulge in hooliganism. In fact, political leaders who misuse their powers should face the brunt of their actions.
India is not the nation of the 1990s, policed by the iron fist of identity politics. It is now shaping into a polity liberated by information and multi-cultural exposure, fueling and empowering aspirations to tug at the chains of apathy and dogma. In such a scenario, who needs the goons of Shiv Sena?
No entity in this country can any longer create a ‘boogeyman’ or a ‘messiah’ and hope the people will blindly fear or worship it, so it would probably be better that the Sena change its style of politics.
The assault incident
Last month, Gaikwad, the Sena’s MP from Osmanabad in Maharashtra, flew in an Air India airplane from Pune to Delhi, then refused to leave the aircraft for an hour while he demanded an explanation for not being given a business class seat.
When a 60-year-old manager arrived to persuade him to leave the plane, the MP assaulted him and beat him up with slippers.
Over the past few days, Gaikwad has repeatedly tried to book himself on flights but failed every time, which left him with options like taking the train or driving to Delhi by road.