Bhubaneswar: Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar was slapped by a youth at the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on Thursday.

The incident occurred as 71 year old Mr.Pawar was walking down the steps of a New Delhi Municipal Council auditorium and walking towards his car after participating in a literary function.

The youth was identified as Harvinder Singh, an auto-driver, who accepted that he slapped Pawar for rising prices of essential commodities.

It is noteworthy to mention that the youth had attacked the former Telecom Minister, Sukh Ram, who was sentenced to prison in a corruption case, at the Rohini court complex last week.

Pawar lost his balance but remained unperturbed after the assault and moved towards the exit of the auditorium and got into his waiting car.

After hitting Pawar the youth was cornered by some security guards. But he took out a small knife from his pocket and started screaming, “I came planned to the event to slap the Minister. All of them are corrupt”. He then was arrested by the police and was charged with voluntarily causing hurt, assault and criminal intimidation.

Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh talked to Mr. Pawar and condemned the attack.

Leaders from across the political spectrum have condemned the incident.

However this incident turned out to a war of words between Congress and BJP.

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday had said that continued price rise in the “absence” of any concrete steps may become a reason for the people to vent their anger in the form of violence.

“This statement of BJP is responsible for today’s incident,” Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi told reporters.

Mr. Sinha on the other hand claimed that his statement is no way related to the incident.