A West Bengal minister was caught on camera letting a police bodyguard tie his shoelace on the sidelines of a public function in Kolkata on Monday.
Rachhpal Singh, minister for planning and development in the state government, was at a function to honour sculptor Ramkinkar Baij. He had possibly taken off his shoes to garland the artist's statue and when he tried to put them back on, his bodyguard rushed to help.
Singh did nothing to stop the bodyguard, who was filmed tying his shoelace.
Soon after the footage was aired on TV news channels, opposition leaders and civil society activists criticised Singh, a former Indian Police service officer.
"Such a thing is unthinkable in the 21st century. This is reflective of the political bankruptcy of the Trinamool Congress and its leaders," said CPI-M leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, former mayor of Kolkata.
Social activist Miratun Nahar and theatre personality Kaushik Sen too condemned the incident.
"Unless those surrounding ministers and influential people stop resorting to sycophancy, such incidents will continue to happen. I have serious doubts if Singh is aware about Baij or his exploits," said Sen.
Former police officer Samir Ganguly said he was not surprised by the incident.
"Sycophancy is a part of the department. There are many who shamelessly run errands for their superiors, hoping for a better posting and promotion," said Ganguly, former deputy commissioner of city police.
(With inputs from agencies)