Within hours of a woman giving Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah a peck on the cheek during a public programme on Sunday, salaciousness was on full display.
On Sunday, the Karnataka Pradesh Kurubara Sangha had felicitated members of taluk and zilla panchayats. After she was felicitated, Tarikere taluk panchayat member Girija Srinivas posed for a photograph along with Siddaramaiah, and gave him a peck on the cheek before going off the stage.
Speaking to the media later, Girija said that she could not contain her excitement on meeting a man whom she had admired since childhood.
âSince I was a child Iâve admired Siddaramaiah. He was the inspiration for my decision to be a politician. It is a matter of happiness that there is such a lion in Kuruba society. I had always wanted to see him, talk to him, and take a photograph with him. He is like my father and as a daughter, I removed the evil eye and gave him a kiss. I will never forget this moment all my life,â Girija said. Siddaramaiah too said that Girija was like his daughter.
As video clippings of the incident were telecast by the media along with the so-called clarifications of both, the vulgarity began. The kiss was given all kinds of colours, by both the public, and a section of the media.
Many comments on social mediaridiculed Siddaramaiah.
The Facebook user's post reads:
"Muthu (kiss) mantri Siddaramaiah
Mukhya (chief) mantri Siddaramaiah
The Facebook user's comment reads: Who wants a kiss?
On Twitter too, there was some amount of ridicule directed at the CM.
The Kiss that finally woke Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah from Sleeping Beauty mode pic.twitter.com/6Pjdi1WTCnâ Rosy (@rose_k01) June 26, 2016
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah got a kiss from a lady of his caste. His body language clearly indicates he encouraged the dirty act on the diasâ Bitra Eswara Kumar (@ekbitra) June 26, 2016
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah is the latest heart throb of Karnataka. He receives a hot kiss from a woman before cameras.â Snake Charmer (@sap_era) June 26, 2016
à²µà³à²¦à²¿à²à³à²¯à²²à³à²²à³ à²¸à²¿à²à² à²¸à²¿à²¦à³à²¦à²°à²¾à²®à²¯à³à²¯à²à³âà²®à³à²¤à³à²¤à²¿à²¨ à²à²¾à²à³à²¯ âhttps://t.co/NI3F0UTlaI#chiefminister #siddaramaiah #stage #kiss... https://t.co/VwK9jKLwSXâ JustKannada (@JustKannada) June 26, 2016
Media and journalists
In the media, salaciousness varied between outright comments and indirect discomfort with what had happened.
Some television news channels ran tickers which projected the whole incident in a derogatory manner. One channelâs tickers read: âSiddu gets kiss from âKuruba queenââ and âSiddu âkiss.. kiss..â ke baatâ¦â.
An English news channel had this headline: âOops! Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah gets kissed by woman in publicâ. However, the story itself was reported in a straightforward manner.
Several news reports qualified the âkissâ with the adjective âsweetâ either in the story or in the headline.
One example of sensible reporting was a news website whose headline read: âWoman kisses Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at public event (Watch Video)â.
A news website gave Siddaramaiah a âclean chitâ saying that the womanâs action was certain to unexpected for him. One line in the story read: âIt must have been expected for the woman; but for the Chief Minister who was kissed and those nearby, it was unexpected.â
While this was what made it to the public domain, among journalists too, there were different types of discussion, ranging between genuine debates on how to report such an incident, if at all, and disgusting comments.
Referring to the tone of discussion among journalists in another WhatsApp group, one journalist in commented: âAt least in this group the discussion has ended here. The discussions in other groups are disgusting. The comments suggest that we may see journalists being garlanded with chappals in our own lifetimes.â