A cabinet minister in Andhra Pradesh and a legislator of Telugu Desam Party came to blows, following an argument at a public function at Denduluru in West Godavari district on Saturday, police said.
State Tourism minister Vatti Vasant Kumar and TDP legislator Chintamaneni Prabhakar shoved each other, after an eated argument on the dais during the 'Rachabanda' (mass contact programme), they said adding the MLA was later taken into custody.
"Prabhakar initially raised house patta and other issues with the minister. A heated argument ensued, after which, the MLA pushed the latter aside, before allegedly hitting him in his stomach, who also retaliated," police sources said.
Congress Eluru MP K Sambasiva Rao also had a verbal duel with the MLA and police had a tough time separating the leaders and their supporters, who got into clashes.
After the incident, both, the minister and the MLA, lodged complaints with the police. Separate cases have been registered against both of them and the MLA has been taken into custody, West Godavari District Superintendent of Police C Ravi Varma told PTI.
The minister was booked under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC, while a case under section 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), the senior police officer added.
Tension prevailed in Denduluru town following the incident, as supporters and workers of Congress and TDP got into a clash and rasta rokos were held at different places.
However, police managed to bring the situation under control, Varma said.
Meanwhile, the TDP has condemned the minister's "high-handedness". TDP politburo member K Yerran Naidu said it was unbecoming of the minister to act in such a fashion, when an elected public representative went to air public grievances at a government programme and he demanded action against the minister for manhandling the MLA.
TV images showed both the politicians exchanging blows.