West Bengal’s Planning and Programme Implementation Minister Rachpal Singh landed in controversy on Monday after he was caught on camera having his shoelaces tied by his security guard.
A retired IPS officer-turned politician, Singh introduced Bengal to a scene that has never been seen before in the state’s political culture.
Although he was unavailable for comments after the incident, senior Trinamool leaders admitted that Singh’s conduct will reflect poorly on the party and the government when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee makes it a point to portray an image far different from the kind of politicians one hears of in north India.
Singh was paying homage to a photograph of master sculptor Ramkinkar Baij on his 109th birth anniversary, at the state secretariat, following a custom of honouring eminent personalities of Bengal by the chief minister.
On Monday morning, Singh removed his shoes to pay respects before Baij’s photograph. After the ceremony was over, one of his security personnel was seen tying the laces of his shoe.
While the scene went viral on news channels soon after, the minister immediately left the scene.
Incidentally, Singh was chided by the chief minister a couple of years ago when, during a similar ceremony, he paid homage without taking off his shoes.