A deputy superintendent of police (DySP), posted as personal security officer for Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati was caught on camera on Sunday cleaning her soiled sandals.
Arriving at Naunakpur village in UP's Auraiya district, about 110 km northwest of Lucknow on a routine visit, Mayawati accidentally stepped upon a mound of mud, soiling both her sandals. DSP Padam Singh promptly bent down and began cleaning them, using his own handkerchief to do so.
Singh, police sources revealed, had been part of Mayawati's security ring for the past 15 years, rising from inspector to DySP. At 61, he remains in the police force on a two-year extension. UP cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh at a press conference in Lucknow said Padam Singh had done his duty and there nothing wrong in it. Shashank Shekhar Singh said as personal security officer (PSO) it was duty of the Padam Singh to protect her from any harm.
Padam Singh kept wiping Mayawati's sandals even as she ignored him completely, continuing to talk to the officials who had accompanied her.
"I have enormous regard for the CM and spontaneously moved forward to clean her soiled footwear," Singh told reporters, after his action, caught on local TV channels, kicked up a political storm.
"Why are officers literally stooping so low?" asked Samajwadi Party leader Mohammed Azam Khan. "Are they doing it under pressure?"
"Mayawati is now displaying the same feudal mentality she once resisted," said Akhilesh Singh, Congress spokesperson.
Mayawati's BSP, however, was far from defensive. "What's all the fuss about?" asked Syed Kazim Ali Khan, MLA. "I don't think she asked the officer to clean her shoes."