A simple gesture of gratitude seldom attracts criticism. But when a Gujarat bureaucrat bows down before Chief Minister Narendra Modi, he is bound to create a controversy.
Amreli District Collector D.G. Jhalawadia did exactly that while accepting a cheque from Modi at a function last week. After receiving the cheque, Jhalawadia bowed down in a gesture of touching the CM’s feet. Modi was in Amreli for Gujarat’s foundation day on May 1. After announcing various schemes for the district, the chief minister had handed over a cheque for Rs 1 crore to the district collector.
Though bowing before the chief minister by recipients of awards, grants and compensation cheques is a common phenomenon, an IAS officer’s gesture of touching Modi’s feet has sparked a controversy.
The opposition Congress and Modi’s detractors have cried foul over what they see as a gesture of sycophancy. A source said there is no clear guideline from the General Administration Department on whether an IAS officer should touch a CM’s feet at a public function. Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Shaktisinh Gohil told HT there is no place for personality worship in a democracy. “The collector touching the CM’s feet puts the bureaucracy in a bad light,” he said.