NEW DELHI, March 23 (Xinhua) -- A senior Indian lawmaker Thursday landed into a major row after he bragged about hitting en employee of national carrier Air India with his slipper as he was denied a business class seat in a Delhi-bound flight.
Employees of Air India have now demanded strict action against Ravindra Gaikwad, the lawmaker of the western state of Maharashtra's regional Hindu fundamentalist Shiv Sena party, which is also an ally of the country's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.
The incident took place when Gaikwad was coming to Delhi from the Maharashtra's Pune city on an Air India flight that apparently did not have a business class.
After thrashing the Air India employee, the Shiv Sena parliamentarian even bragged about in when local TV channels sought his reaction to the incident. "He was arrogant. I hit him 25 times with my sandal," he told the media.
The Air India flight crew has, however, alleged that he was "humiliated in front of the entire crew and his spectacles were broken."
As the chorus for action against the 57-year-old lawmaker grew stronger, Indian Aviation Minister quipped, "No citizen should ever resort to any kind of physical assault let alone an Member of Parliament."
Even the BJP has strongly condemned the incident. "Elected representatives need to respect people who are doing their job, irrespective of whether the Air India man was rude," said Shaina NC, the BJP spokesperson.