Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, no stranger to controversies in the recent past, found himself in a fresh spot of trouble, when a video of a man kneeling down to tie the former's shoe laces emerged on Sunday.
In the video published by news agency ANI, Siddharamaiah can be seen standing by the doorway of a house, as a man dressed in white kneels down to tie the CM's shoe laces, while more aides and others surround him.
According to The Times of India, the incident happened in Mysuru, when Siddharamaiah went to pay his last respects to late actor Chetan Ramarao, who passed away on Friday night.
After the CM came out of the house, he reportedly stood near the main door, as if in anticipation of someone. This was quickly followed by Kumar, reported to be an assistant of the CM who lives in the former's house in Mysuru, rushing towards Siddharamaiah to help him wear his shoe.
While several Congress leaders expressed their bewilderment at the CM entertaining such an act, social media users came down heavily on the "socialist" leader.
BJP General Secretary, CT Ravi, condemned the action of the CM, writing, “Arrogance of Pseudo Socialist CMofKarnataka has no limits. Absolutely disgusting that Siddaramaiah gets his shoes fitted by an assistant.”
However, after the video invited censure, with many criticising what they called the VIP culture of Congress-ruled government, the media advisor to the CM stepped in to quell further outrage.
"It is hereby clarified that the person tying CM Siddaramaiah's shoe laces is not his staff but his relative," PTI quoted as saying.
The Chief Minister himself tweeted saying that no one was helping him put his shoes on, but that a relative was bending down to look for his shoes.
I want to clarify that nobody was putting my shoes on. The photo in question was taken while a relative had bent down to look for my shoes.— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) December 25, 2016
Earlier in June, Siddaramaiah was put into a slightly embarrassing position when a woman panchayat member planted an affectionate peck on his cheek at a public event. With news channels playing the video on loop, the CM issued a clarification that the woman was like a daughter, and the peck was an affectionate gesture. The panchayat member clarified too that he was a paternal figure for her.
More seriously, Siddaramaiah came under a cloud of suspicion, when he sported a Hublot watch that his opponents alleged cost around Rs 70 lakh. Although the CM claimed that it was a second hand gift from a friend, the issue ate up many sessions of the Assembly, as opponents refused to let the matter lie. The CM subsequently turned the watch over to the Karnataka speaker.