March 7, 2019 / 8:45 AM / in 12 days

BJP lawmakers get off on wrong foot in "shoe brawl"

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Two lawmakers from India’s ruling party were set to be disciplined on Friday after a fight using a shoe as a weapon went viral on social media.

The event has caused embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a country where shoes are considered unclean and using one as a weapon is seen as especially offensive.

Footage of the altercation in Uttar Pradesh, dubbed the “shoe brawl” by Indian media, shows MP Sharad Tripathi beating state assembly member Rakesh Singh Baghel with his slipper after an argument over the placement of names on a foundation stone for a new project.

“I regret the incident and feel bad about it. What happened was against my normal behaviour,” Tripathi told Reuters partner ANI.

Baghel, who retaliated by repeatedly slapping Tripathi, has also apologised for the fight.

The BJP’s president in Uttar Pradesh, M.N. Pandey, said both lawmakers had been summoned to the state capital Lucknow and that “strict disciplinary action will be taken”.

Reporting by Alasdair Pal; editing by Nick Macfie

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