An IPS officer has stirred up a controversy by throwing all norms of protocol to the wind and sitting at the feet of a cabinet minister. Opposition leaders have slammed the officer for being a sycophant as also the minister’s “feudal” mindset. The home department has ordered an inquiry into the unseemly episode which has embarrassed the entire Uttar Pradesh Police, which prides itself on being the largest uniformed force in the world.
A picture of the superintendent of police (SP) of Banda district in southern UP Uday Shankar Jaiswal in full uniform sitting cross-legged on the ground near agriculture minister Anand Singh occupying a sofa was carried in a Hindi newspaper here on Thursday. What was worse that the agricultural production commissioner (APC) Alok Ranjan, one of the senior most IAS officers in UP, and the Banda district Samajwadi Party president, also seated on the sofa along side the ‘mantri’ seemed to think nothing of the district police chief sitting by their feet.
The footage aired by news channels revealed that apart from the SP, several other district officials were also seated on the ground across the room from the minister.
Confronted about the incident by mediapersons on Thursday, Alok Ranjan initially feigned ignorance about the SP sitting on the ground. Probed further, he said, “It was not an official meeting. We had gone to an ‘ashram’, and since there were no chairs there, the officials must have sat on the ground.” However, the officer, the minister or the Samajwadi Party leader perhaps never considered sitting on the floor themselves along with the others.
Principal secretary (home) AK Gupta has called for a report on the embarrassing incident while Opposition leaders have lambasted the minister as well as the IPS officer. “We may have driven the British away but the fawning mentality seems to have stayed on. Both the SP and the minister should be dismissed,” says Vivek Singh Congress MLA from Banda.
“The Akhilesh regime considers all government officers its slaves. The minister and the SP both have compromised the honour of the positions they hold and should be severely punished,” said senior BSP leader SP Maurya.