Bharatiya Janashakti Party’s senior leader Anil Rai resigned on Wednesday evening after he was slapped by party chief Uma Bharti in the morning in full public glare even as the two played down the incident as a “family affair” through the day.
Bharti slapped Anil Rai, the vice-president of the party’s Madhya Pradesh unit, at the Circuit House in Chhindawara, 300km from here.
She had asked him to clear the crowd at the Circuit House, Rai told HT. An election observer was staying in the Circuit House and she could have been in trouble for code violation, he said.
As the polls have been called, the model code of conduct is in place in the state.
“Then she started shouting at me, saying ‘you’re not able to disperse the crowd’. I left... She probably took it as an insult and when I returned, she rushed towards me and slapped me.”
He was quick to say he didn’t want to make an issue of it, adding, “this is Didi’s way of showing affection to party workers.” Rai, a founder-member of the party, is considered close to Prahlad Patel, who parted ways with Bharti a year ago. The two, however, have come together for the assembly elections.
Sources said Bharti got infuriated as Rai allegedly kept calling up the people she was in a meeting with. She asked Rai to step out of his car and slapped him, twice.
Rai was like her brother and she had the right to “love or hit him”, she later said at a press conference. Rai, too, added his bit to “family drama”, saying Bharti was like his elder sister and she had the right to “beat me up or love me”.