The letters MP usually denote Member of Parliament – a highly responsible and respectable position – an elected represented of the people to the highest tribune of our democracy, a law-maker. But after the outrage committed by a Shiv Sena MP, Ravindra Gaikwad, many will think that MP stands for a Megalomaniac Person. The lawmaker had booked a business class ticket on a Pune-New Delhi Air India flight, knowing fully well that that particular flight had only economy class seats. On landing in New Delhi he refused to disembark, alleging that he had been ‘cheated’. His shenanigan kept about a hundred waiting passengers fuming and fretting. They were to board the plane for its onward flight.
The Air India staff requested him with folded hands to disembark but he demanded that no less a person than the chairman or the managing director of the airlines would have to come and apologize to him. Ultimately, the duty manager came and pleaded with him to disembark. The angry People’s Representative slapped him twenty-five times with his chappal – an offence he proudly owned up before TV cameras while warning that he would behave in the same way in future also if he were ‘treated’ the same way. Neither the defiant and unrepentant MP nor his party has apologized so far. What is more, the self-important MP has not been arrested so far for assaulting a senior airlines staff – a criminal offence, besides delaying the flight.
On the face of it, not all persons are equal in the eye of the law. Some are more equal than the others. After seventy-two hours the only substantive action that has been taken is that all the airlines have jointly decided not to book him in any of their flights with immediate effect. Also the Centre has indicated it is thinking of preparing a list of ‘no-fly’ list of passengers who are habitual offenders in flights. Earlier also, there were reports of one passenger or the other misbehaving with the crew, including female crew, in a drunken condition. But no previous incident had assumed such atrocious proportions as this one.
The two Houses of Parliament should now formulate a code of conduct for its members. Those violating it should be proceeded against, including declaring their membership null and void according to the seriousness of the offence. Also, they should be debarred from contesting either permanently or for a limited period, depending on the nature of their offence. A megalomaniac person forfeits the right to represent the people.