With the spate of shoe slinging incidents in the back of their minds, police on Sunday asked BJP workers and supporters to come barefooted to greet their leader L K Advani at the airport in Coimbatore during his transit visit to Kerala.
As the workers started thronging the airport for a glimpse of their prime ministerial candidate, they were asked by police to remove their chappals and shoes before being allowed into the temporarily set up cheering enclosure.
Advani, on way to Kerala for electioneering, waved to the workers who reciprocated from the barricaded enclosure at a distance of 50 feet.
Security was very tight in the airport, with guntotting guards keeping a strict vigil. Even the cars of the passengers and visitors were not allowed into the usual parking slot.
Advani's visit to the communally sensitive Coimbatore always attracts tight security ever since the serial bomb blasts in February 1998, hours before he was to address an election meeting. Over 50 people were killed and around 200 injured in the explosions that rocked various localities, including the venue of Advani's meeting in the R S Puram area.
Recently a Sikh scribe, Jarnail Singh, lobbed his shoe at Home Minister P Chidambaram under media glare in Delhi protesting his response on Congress leader Jagdish Tytler being given a clean chit by the CBI in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
The shoes were again used as a tool to express protest when a retired school teacher flung one at Congress MP Naveen Jindal at an poll rally in Haryana last week. But he missed the target by a whisker just as the Sikh journalist.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati on Wednesday addressed the media at her residence keeping the journalists at a safe distance of 15-20 feet away.
Shoe-hurling came under world spotlight when Iraqi journalist Al Zaidi threw his pair at former US President George W Bush at a press meet in Baghdad last year. Bush had managed to duck the boots.