Anna Hazare today tied himself in knots with his reaction to the attack on Sharad Pawar first appearing to respond with contempt and later condemning it.
"He got slapped! Only one slap?" he said to a group of journalists who broke out in laughter at his reaction.
But later coming out of the room, he condemned the incident saying such acts of violence were not good.
"He (the attacker) may be very angry. This is not good. Anger is not good. Our Constitution does not tell us to be violent with anyone," Hazare told reporters in Ralegan Siddhi.
As word about his remarks created ripples, Hazare said he was talking to 200-300 visitors and someone sent a note that Pawar was attacked.
"I was asking them, was he only slapped and anything else happened to him," he said. After that he spoke to the media and told them it was not a slap on the face of Pawar but a slap on democracy. There is no place for violence in democracy, he said.
However, he said the government has to think about how to keep the anger of the masses under check.
"People are angry. There is corruption and price rise....there is the issue of Jan Lokpal....people are angry over so many things," he said. When pointed out that BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had warned of violence if price rise went unchecked, Hazare said, "there should not be violence in a democracy."
Condemning the attack, Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said politicians may get targeted if a "proper" Lokpal bill is passed.
"Pray proper lokpal bill gets passed in winter session or else pent up anger may come on streets. Politicians may get targeted," Bedi, who was in the eye of a storm for mocking politicians during Hazare's Ramlila Maidan agitation, tweeted.
"While condemning assault on public functionaries, (one) needs to analyse why is this happening and what must done to contain this...Assault on public functionaries calls for serious reflection at all levels of society including media forums," Bedi said.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was slapped by a youth at a public function claiming he was angry with corruption and price rise.
Pawar, who went to a literary function at a public auditorium on Parliament Street, was slapped by Harvinder Singh, a transporter in his thirties who had assaulted former Telecom Minister Sukhram outside Rohini Court on Saturday after he was sentenced in a corruption case.