At a time when Congress has been attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his autocratic functioning, a new video showing its senior leader bowing down and placing a pair of slippers before Rahul Gandhi as he toured the flood-hit Puducherry has now raised questions over alleged ‘culture of sycophancy’ prevalent in the party.
The video, which has become viral on social media, has come as a major embarrassment for the Congress party, which has been very critical of Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
The video shows veteran Congress leader and former Union minister V Narayanasamy bending before Rahul Gandhi – a junior to him in politics but senior in the party hierarchy – and offering him a pair of slippers to wear as the Congress vice president removed his shoes and decided to tour the flood-hit Puducherry bare foot.
In the video, the Congress vice president is seen putting the slippers on without much fuss.
Narayanasamy, who represents Puducherry, has categorically dismissed criticism and references to the much-criticised ‘culture of sycophancy’ in the country’s oldest political party.
“As a courtesy, I offered my chappals as Rahul Gandhi removed his shoes to walk barefoot in the water,” said the 68-year-old Congress veteran.
What is wrong in it. He was our guest and we have a tradition of welcoming guests in south, Narayanasamy commented.
Referring to a question on ‘culture of sycophancy’ in Congress, Narayanasamy said, “We don’t have such a culture in the party. Rahul carried his shoes throughout and he didn’t even let his security personnel carry them for him.”
I am very proud of my leader Rahul Gandhi and what I did for him, he added.
Narayanasamy was minister of state with the Prime Minister’s Office in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government which lost power last year.
Besides Puducherry, Rahul Gandhi also visited Chennai, which is struggling in the aftermath of massive flooding after record rainfall last week.