Ramdas Athawale
Indian member of Parliament Ramdas Athawale takes the oath during the swearing-in ceremony of new ministers following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet re-shuffle, at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on July 5, 2016. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revamped his cabinet on July 5 bringing in 19 new junior ministers to speed up decision-making and delivery on promises made in this year's budget.PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images [Representational Image]

Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Sunday blamed police for an incident in which a man tried to slap him at a public event in Maharashtra's Thane district claiming it had failed to provide him adequate security.

The Republican Party of India (Athawale) chief was in Ambernath town to address a rally late on Saturday when Pravin Gosavi (30) tried to slap him.

In a statement issued Sunday morning, Athawale said, "Police did not provide sufficient protection, that helped the assailant to target me. My popularity is growing and it may have resulted in a jealous person charging against me. I am going to meet the chief minister of Maharashtra regarding the same."

Athawale had just got off the dais after delivering a speech on the Constitution when the incident happened at around 10.15 pm on Saturday. The minister of state for social justice and empowerment was not harmed as the bystanders and police managed to foil Gosavi's attempt to assault him, an officer said.

Athawale Sunday morning asked his party workers to maintain peace in the wake of the incident. The local RPI (A) unit has called for a shutdown in Ambernath on Sunday as a mark of protest.

An officer said the situation in the town was calm and under control, with a large posse of police personnel out on the streets to keep vigil.

No untoward incident has been reported since morning, the officer added.