I cleaned Maya’s shoes, says officer without shame

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A deputy superintendent of police who was caught on camera cleaning Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati’s soiled sandals has said that he has high regards for her even as his act kicked up a political storm in the state. The incident took place during the CM’s tour to Naunakpur village in Auraiya, nearly 110 kilometers from the state capital, on Sunday.

The officer in the middle of the controversy is Padam Singh, 61, who after completing 60 years in service last year, was given a two-year extension by the state government.

Singh has been handling Mayawati’s personal security for the last 15 years.

After TV channels started beaming recorded images of the incident, Singh owned up and said that he had spontaneously bent down to clean her soiled footwear.

“As soon as she alighted from the helicopter in Naunakpur, the CM accidentally stepped over a mud mound. I saw that and cleaned that with a handkerchief,” he said.

His extended term expires in 2012. Singh rose from level of police inspector to deputy superintendent of police.

His action provided fresh fodder to the opposition which accused her of reducing policemen to perform acts unbecoming of an officer.

However the BSP counterattacked with a party MLA Syed Kazim Ali Khan wanting to know, “what the fuss was all about?”

TV footage however showed some officers gesturing towards Singh after which he rushed towards the CM, looked around, pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and then bent to polish her footwear, while she spoke to senior officers at the make shift helipad in the village.

After cleaning Mayawati’s footwear, he washed his hands.

Azam Khan, the Samajwadi Party leader, wasn’t amused.

He said, “More than the act itself, what needs to be looked into is why are the officers stooping so low? Are they doing it under pressure, that’s the question.”

Not willing to miss out on the fun, the BJP leader Kalraj Mishra expressed surprise saying such acts by officers were unheard of earlier.

“It’s a new low in UP and certainly all of us know why things have come to such a pass,” he said.

Congress spokesman, Akhilesh Pratap Singh said, “Mayawati is now reflecting the same feudal mentality, which she resisted and fought so successfully.”

A senior IAS officer, requesting anonymity said, “At the end of the day, it depends on the individual as also the kind of rapport he or she enjoys with political masters.”
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