MUMBAI: Maharashtra's politicians are getting hit left, right and centre. First it was Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar who got slapped in Delhi. This time it's closer home.
Rajendra Shekhawat, the son of former President Pratibha Patil, was slapped at a public function by an angry man.
Shekhawat, an MLA from Amravati, was the chief guest at a Dahi Handi function organised by the Navyuvak Mandal at Rajkamal Chowk.
Along with Shekhawat, Amravati police commissioner Ajit Patil was also invited to the function and was seated beside him.
Amravati police officials said Shekhawat was addressing his supporters on stage during the Dahi Handi function when Gajanan Umbarkar (28), the accused, got up onto the stage and approached Shekhawat. Before anyone realised what was happening, Umbarkar slapped the former President's son. According to Congress activists, Umbarkar slapped Shekhawat twice.
However, police officials said Shekhawat was slapped only once.
The blow was strong enough for Shekhawat to collapse on stage.
The youth was then set upon by angry Congress activists who thrashed him before the police intervened. Shekhawat was immediately taken for a medical test which showed he hadn't suffered any serious injury.
Late at night he filed a case against Umbarkar.
Shekhawat, whose face was swollen, told reporters outside the police station, "I was hit once on the left side.
Naturally he (Umbarkar) was beaten up by activists because look at his temerity to come onto the stage and attack me in front of the police commissioner."
Angry Congress activists called an Amravati bandh on Friday to protest against the slapping incident.
They also directed their ire at the police commissioner for not being able to stop the attack.
Police said during interrogation Umbarkar told them that he was a former student who took eight long years to complete his pharmacy course from the institute run by the Shekawats.
Umbarkar claimed in police custody that he was deliberately failed by the college.