Mahajan-brokered truce over fly ban on rogue Sena MP fails; Raju firm

NEW DELHI
6 Apr 2017

Lawmakers cannot fulfil their duties if there is ban on flying, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said today after the Lower House witnessed chaos over the issue of fly ban on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad. "I am not a judge and cannot pass judgement on this issue. But, the matter should be resolved amicably," Mahajan told reporters outside Parliament. "MPs have to come to Parliament. Saturday and Sundays are off so many times. MPs have to go for meetings and it is not possible to travel by train to those places and come back. "So one has to take flights. If there is a ban on flying, then an MP cannot fulfil his/her duty. No matter should be prolonged for so long. Whatever enquiry has to be conducted, it should be done and a conclusion should be reached," she said. The Lok Sabha witnessed utter chaos as Shiv Sena MPs, including Union Minister Anant Geete, surrounded Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju after he refused to heed to their demand for revoking the flying ban on Gaikwad. After the chaos, the Speaker held a meeting with TDP parliamentarians, including Raju, and Shiv Sena MPs, including Geete. According to TDP sources, during the meeting, Mahajan expressed her displeasure over the behavior of Shiv Sena MPs inside the House, saying it is "not acceptable". The matter of fly ban should be looked into and both sides have decided to sit together and amicably resolve the matter at the earliest. Gaikwad spoke in details about the incident in the House and also asked the fly ban be revoked, the Speaker said. The civil aviation minister said rules are same for everybody, including MPs. But, everyone was angered as they were expecting a solution from the minister, Mahajan said. "That is why there was a chaos. I adjourned the House as I could not understand anybody's point. "Later, all of us sat together. It was decided that the issue cannot be resolved in Parliament. It will be resolved only after both the sides discuss the matter," she said. After the meeting with the Speaker, TDP as well as Shiv Sena leaders met separately to discuss the matter. Earlier, Gaikwad tendered an apology to Parliament but insisted that he owed no apology to the airline officials as he sought removal of the ban imposed on him by domestic airlines after he allegedly beat up an Air India officer with slippers. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has condemned the "unruly behaviour" of Shiv Sena MPs, including Union minister Ananth Geete, towards Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju in the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha witnessed utter chaos as Shiv Sena members, including Geete, surrounded Raju after he refused to heed to their demand for revoking the flying ban on their colleague Ravindra Gaikwad. "It is unfortunate to witness some MPs' unruly behaviour towards Aviation Minister @Ashok_Gajapathi. Strongly condemn such behaviour," Chandrababu said in a tweet. "Such incidents in the highest lawmaking body remain as a blot on democracy. The members should behave in a decent manner and uphold parliamentary traditions," the CM later said in a statement. The leaders of the respective parties should act firmly and ensure that such high-handed incidents do not recur, the TDP chief said. Raju is a TDP MP from Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh. State IT and Panchayat Raj Minister Nara Lokesh also criticised the behaviour of the Shiv Sena members. "Strongly condemn the unparliamentary behaviour of several MPs towards Union Civil Aviation Minister @Ashok_Gajapathi," Lokesh said in a tweet. Earlier in the Lok Sabha, the BJP members, including several Union ministers, watched in shock as their allies hit Raju's bench in anger and did not let him leave. Soon thereafter several leaders, including Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, tried to placate Geete and his colleagues while Raju was ushered out. Geete, who was seen angrily shouting at his ministerial colleague Ashok Gajapathi Raju in the Lok Sabha, insisted that he had done "no wrong" and his party and TDP would remain NDA constituents. "As a Shiv Sena leader, I need to take care of the rights of the party MPs. I have not misbehaved with anybody. I have not done anything wrong. Me and Rajuji are ministers and allies in NDA and will remain allies," the Heavy Industries minister said outside the Parliament.