Congress unamused at Hazare's Pawar comment

Hazare was asked by reporters about his view on the attack on Pawar, who was slapped by a Sikh man. Hazare responded: "Was it only one slap?"

As the gathering burst out laughing, Hazare left. But he must have soon realised what a gaffe he has committed, for he returned to clarify.

"He (the accused) could have been angry, but it is not right to hit someone. Our democracy does not allow such attacks." The Congress, however, was not amused.
An angry Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said: "If they condone violence, then people will take a call on their claim of being Gandhians."

"The Congress condemns the attack in strongest terms," he added. The turbaned Sikh man had only four days ago kicked former union minister Sukh Ram after he was sentenced in a corruption case.

Tewari in August had said that Hazare is "involved in corruption from top to bottom". Hazare served him with a legal notice. Tewari then wrote him a letter of apology. After the controversy, Tewari opted out of the parliamentary standing committee which is examining the Lokpal bill.

Hazare has led two successful campaigns New Delhi in April and August, demanding a strong Lokpal that checks corruption in high places. He is pushing the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government for the early passage of the Lokpal bill in parliament.

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