Maharashtra rural development minister Pankaja Munde received flak from opposition parties after a member of her staff was seen carrying her slippers during her recent tour of drought-affected regions in the state.
The Opposition Congress took the opportunity to take a swipe at Munde, saying it showed her "high-handed attitude".
Munde, however, defended herself saying that the man was in her personal employment and not a government servant.
During her visit to Sonpeth in Parbhani district, Munde took her slippers (chappals) off after seeing a muddy road ahead.
While she walked bare-feet, a man picked up her chappals, a scene broadcasted by newschannels.
"The media sees that I removed my chappals and somebody carried them. But did the media see the problems I had to endure while walking barefeet? On seeing a muddy road I simply removed my chappals and continued walking. I wasn't even aware that somebody has picked up my chappals. I learnt that later," Munde told PTI this evening.
"And that person was my private employee and not a government servant. The real news is the drought and the condition of farmers," she said.
Congress spokesperson Al-Nasser Zakaria said the incident belied Munde's claim that she was sensitive to the plight of poor.
"Her attitude shows the government in bad light. This only shows her high-handedness and being completely oblivious to the rights of people...What good will she do for a poor farmer when she makes a poor person carry her slippers? All her claims of serving the poor have fallen flat," Zakaria said.