November 24, 2011

Sharad Pawar gets slap; Anna asks 'just once?'

'That bugger hit me really hard'
Breaking into a group of officials and journalists, a youth today attacked Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar after a public event here shouting slogans against corruption and price rise, an action that was roundly condemned by political parties.

71-year-old Pawar, who went to a literary function at a public auditorium on Parliament Street, was caught unaware when he was slapped by Harvinder Singh, a local transporter in his thirties who had assaulted former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram outside a court on Saturday after he was sentenced in a corruption case.

The NCP veteran, who has very little security, lost his balance for a moment but regained composure after the assault, moved towards the exit of the auditorium and got into his waiting car.

Private security guards immediately overpowered the youth who was shouting "he is corrupt" and an official landed some blows on Singh.

"I came planned to the event to slap the minister," Singh told reporters who had gone to cover the literary function.

"All of them are corrupt," he shouted when he was removed from security and policemen.

Wielding a small kirpan, the youth said things could have been worse but for the observance of martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur today.

Pawar himself sought to play down the incident saying he was not sure of what the intentions of the attacker could be and left it to police to handle the issue.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Pawar after the incident and condemned the attack. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also said that the attack on Pawar was "totally condemnable".

Attacker was surely crazy.
Why did he slap just once?
Noted social activist and the anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare was taken by surprise when he was told that Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was attacked by a youth at the NDMC centre in the heart of the national capital on Thursday.

“What, was he slapped only once,” was Anna’s initial reaction when he was told about the incident.

However, the septuagenarian leader soon gained composure and said, “The attack on Pawar is highly undemocratic. This is wrong to express anger over price rise in this manner.”