The Kerala Assembly’s Speaker N Sakthan has landed in the midst of a controversy after a photograph showing the Speaker’s driver removing his footwear was published in a newspaper.
The photograph by KB Jayachandran of Metro Vaartha shows the driver sitting on the floor, removing the Speaker’s shoes.
The photo was taken at an event which the Speaker was attending with Agricultural Minister of the state, K P Mohanan. It was the seasonal harvest function in the paddy field inside the Kerala Secretariat compound.
Before performing the ritual of walking over the first crop, the driver was seen removing the Speaker's footwear. Addressing a press meet at the Secretariat, the Speaker said,"I have a rare ailment in my eyes and doctors have said I cannot bend down. This person Biju seen in the picture is also a family member and has been with me for years to help me."
The Speaker also expressed his disappointment at the way the picture had been 'blown out of proportion'.
Though the Speaker has made these claims, many Malayalam channels have telecast visuals of him bending halfway and particpating in the harvest.
Speaker Sakthan is not the first politician to be caught on camera demanding VIP treatment from their staff. In 2011, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s security officer was seen cleaning her shoes.
Recently in August, Maharashtra’s Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde was embroiled in a similar controversy when one of her aids picked up her chappal while the minster waded barefoot through a muddy patch in rural Maharashtra.
Picture by Madhyamam