Odisha minister makes PSO tie his shoelaces in public, says ‘I’m VIP’

Keonjhar/Bhubaneswar: Odisha MSME minister Yogendra Behera embarassed the BJD government when his personal security officer (PSO) was caught tying his shoelaces during the Independence day celebration in Keonjhar on Monday.

Behera was the chief guest on the occasion and hoisted the national flag in the presence of thousands of people.

Video footages aired by television channels showed the PSO going beyond his call of duty and helping the minister wear his shoes and tying the shoelaces after he addressed the gathering.

Surprisingly, Behera, clad in a white kurta and pajama, did nothing to stop his PSO from doing so.

When asked about the matter, the Loisinga MLA first denied any such incident happened. But after realising that the whole episode had been filmed by the newsmen present on the occasion, he said something that stunned everybody present there.

“I had not put on the shoes…I am a VIP. I have hoisted the flag and he has not done,” Behera said.

The minister’s act has invited criticism from civil society groups.

“By doing this, the minister has brought back British rule against which our freedom fighters had fought a long battle and brought us freedom seventy years back. This act is shameful,” Senior lawyer Biraja Mishra said.

“In Independent India, all are equal. This is condemnable. At least an elected representative should not do this,” Santali Community president Samrat Tudu rued.