Mumbai: A 30-year-old man was detained for allegedly attempting to slap Union minister Ramdas Athawale at a public event in Maharashtra's Thane district on Saturday night, police said.

The Republican Party of India (Athawale) chief was in Ambernath town to address a rally. Athawale had just got off the dais after delivering a speech on the Constitution when the incident happened at around 10:15 pm, a police officer said on Sunday.

Pravin Gosavi, on the pretext of garlanding Athawale, allegedly tried to slap him, following which people overpowered him, beat him up and handed him over to the police. 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, the officer said.

Gosavi, who was first admitted to a hospital in Ulhasnagar town following the public beating, has been shifted to a state-run hospital in Mumbai, the police said.

"We have registered a case under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. Gosavi has been detained and not arrested as yet," said Ambernath police station inspector KG Chavan.

While a probe was underway to ascertain why Gosavi had tried to attack the minister, a senior police officer said it could have been out of frustration for having been expelled from the RPI (A).

"Gosavi's membership was terminated from the Republican Party of India (Athawale) a year ago for criminal activities as he was blackmailing people through RTI," PP Shewale, deputy commissioner of police (zone IV), Thane Police, said. "He may have been frustrated over it (expulsion from party) and may have tried to manhandle the Union minister," the DCP added.

A video of the incident has gone viral on social media. 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.

With PTI inputs