Pune, Nov 18 (IANS) Angry Nationalist Congress Party activists pounced on and blackened the face of Namdeo Jadhav, who had produced a certificate proclaiming NCP chief Sharad Pawar belonged to the OBC caste, here on Saturday.
Jadhav had come to attend a meeting at an auditorium here when a large group of NCP (SP) workers surrounded him as one of them smeared black ink on his face, even as a police constable rushed to shield him from the assault.
Once said to be a close associate of NCP and its top leaders, Jadhav has become a severe critic of the party and its leadership, and had recently stirred a row by displaying a purported certificate printed in English giving the OBC caste tag to Sharad Pawar, a Maratha.
In fact, on Novemner 14, during a Diwali get-together at his hometown Baramati, Sharad Pawar had cleared the air, dismissing the purported OBC certificate. He said the document issued by his old school was the genuine one, showing his caste as ‘Maratha’, and he had never hidden this fact.
After the roughing up by NCP activists, a furious Jadhav threatened that he would lodge a police complaint in which the first accused would be Sharad Pawar and the second would be his grandnephew and NCP (SP) MLA Rohit Pawar.
Indirectly supporting the incident, NCP General Secretary Jitendra Awhad said in Mumbai that if some persons (Jadhav) go around making such blatantly false claims, the loyal supporters of Sharad Pawar are bound to get agitated.
Slamming Jadhav’s comments, Pune NCP (SP) chief Prashant Jagtap said he owned up full responsibility for Saturday’s manhandling episode, and warned that Jadhav should not blame anybody else without basis.
Local NCP activists labelled Jadhav as a ‘puppy’ of certain vested elements, who were unnecessarily dragging Sharad Pawar, Rohit Pawar and other leaders into the caste fracas to defame them.
Meanwhile, a Pune Police officer told mediapersons that an FIR is being registered in the Jadhav matter.