Auraiya, UP: A personal security officer of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati touched a new low when he bent down to wipe her dusty shoes with his handkerchief during her visit to the district.
The incident took place on Sunday when Mayawati was visiting Naunipur village in the district.
On noticing her dusty shoes after alighting from a chopper, PSO Padam Singh, who has been working with her for long and was close to BSP founder Kanshi Ram, started cleaning her shoes.
The shoe-wiping continued for some time even as the chief minister spoke to district officials who had converged on the tarmac to welcome her.
Singh, a retired police officer currently on extension, supervises the personal security of Mayawati, sources here said.
Opposition parties have slammed the "feudalistic" attitude of the chief minister.
"The manner in which the chief minister is behaving and working is shameful and a security personnel wiping her shoes is a deplorable incident," SP state president Akhilesh Yadav alleged.
He said that it was sad to see that a person entrusted with the security was wiping Mayawati's shoes.
"If this government continues, then even the officials will have to do the same act," he alleged.
"She is starting new traditions in politics. First, she got her statues installed. Now, this shameful incident has come to the fore. This is a feudalistic attitude," Yadav said.
Slamming the chief minister, Congress spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said, "Mayawati, who rode to power by claiming to fight against feudalism, has adopted the same culture after becoming the Chief Minister".
"Getting shoes wiped by a government official is wrong and the security personnel should not have done such an act for the sake of self-respect," he said.
However, the BSP said nothing much should be read into the incident.
BSP MLA Nawab Seyd Kazim Ali said, "I don't think this is really an issue at all because the chief minister never asked the security officer to clean her shoes or anything and this is something which is a non-issue. If a handkerchief falls and if somebody picks it up, you can't make that into an issue".
"If I go to a village and there is a puddle of water and if I step into the puddle of water, the people of the village will come and clean my shoes," he said asking as to why everybody was "gunning" at the chief minister.