THIS MAN IS STILL FREE on March 28 evening – four days after he attacked with a shoe an Air India employee, Kumar, for making him sit with the common people in the economy class of a plane which has only economy class seats.
The Prime Minister is silent. So is Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, a nice, cultured, humble, lady I had seen in Indore going around from house to house in her campaign against a not-so-humble Prakash Chandra Sethi (incidentally, also famous for misbehaving with an airhostess in a plane), an ex-Chief Minister and Central Minister.
She has won then. Now she lost to ‘coalition dharma’.
And all because his ‘party’, the Shiv Sena, is a partner in NDA, the ruling coalition. And many in Parliament and outside, used the occasion to point out how bad Air India service is – as if that justified its employees being beaten with shoes, abused in foul language and almost thrown down from the plane.
The Shiv Sena fully justified Gaekwad’s actions. He has eight criminal cases against him and they will go on for decades. The Congress partly sided with him saying Air India service is bad. After all it has to support V. Hanumantha Rao, its ex-MP, for abusing and misbehaving with police in Hyderabad saying he could not be stopped because he was AICC Secretary. Rao whom I had known in his youth Congress days, does not say ‘one of the many AICC secretaries ‘.
Even Narendra Modi, due to ‘coalition compulsions’ indirectly backed Gaekwad who had insulted BJP saying, when beating Kumar, that he was not a BJP (spineless) MP to keep quiet if not offered a business class seat. The police are “still investigating”. The Speaker thinks it did not happen inside Parliament and so no action need be taken.
So the message is clear. You can beat up your MP if think he/she is not doing enough for the constituency. If a government official is sitting on your file (as they normally do) your shoe can be used on him or her.
When power becomes the sole objective of a party ‘adharma’ can become ‘coalition dharma’.