Siddipet district collector’s act of touching Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s feet at an official event triggered a row with the official drawing the public ire and criticism from the opposition.
P. Venkatarami Reddy touched the feet of the chief minister to seek his blessings on Sunday at an event where the latter inaugurated the newly constructed collectorate at Siddipet district headquarters.
After the inauguration of the building, the chief minister as part of a ritual made Reddy sit on the collector’s chair. Reddy then rose from his seat and bent to touch the chief minister’s feet even as the latter tried to stop him.
This happened in the presence of Chief Secretary M. Somesh Kumar and several other senior officials.
The collector’s action evoked criticism from both the public and the opposition. They accused him of mortgaging the self-respect of IAS cadre officers to please the chief minister.
As the video of the collector touching KCR’s feet went viral, netizens condemned his gesture.
The collector, however, defended himself saying KCR is a fatherly figure to him.
“It is part of Telangana’s culture to take blessings of elders during auspicious occasions. I took the blessings of the CM who is like a fatherly figure to me when I was taking charge in the new collectorate,” Reddy said in the statement.
The collector also pointed out that Sunday happened to be Father’s Day. He appealed to all not to make an issue out of it.
His clarification came after several people took to Twitter and other social media platforms to condemn his action.
“This is gross misconduct by a public servant, how can he perform his duties unbiased after demonstrating this?,” asked anti-corruption activist Vijay Gopal while condemning the collector’s gesture.
“Dear babu, ur the servant of the public, not the politicians. This sends wrong signal to the people and also shows ur subservient attitude towards ur political masters,” tweeted another netizen Hanumantha Rao.
Many netizens tagged the department of personnel and training of the government of India and IAS Association to bring the issue to their notice and urged them to take action.
Opposition parties have also come down heavily on Reddy for his action.
Congress leader Sravan Dasoju termed the collector’s action as obnoxious. He alleged that the collector is one of the many bureaucrats in the state who were enslaved by KCR. He said the bureaucrats should know that they are accountable only to the Indian Constitution and not to an individual who is in power.
BJP’s chief spokesperson K. Krishna Saagar Rao alleged that KCR is promoting a new bureaucratic culture in the state. “If the collector had any reverence to KCR he should have done it privately instead of doing it in public glare. What type of sycophancy is this and how is KCR allowing this to happen,” he asked