Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 4:
Odisha Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy is back in news for the wrong reasons once again. A man was seen fixing the straps of his sandals that had come off in full view of television cameras while the Minister was at the state secretariat to inaugurate the online sales of OPOLFED yesterday.
The incident took place at about 11:45 AM yesterday at the secretariat portico. The man was seen coming from behind, bending down and adjusting Maharathy’s slipping sandals after the minister stumbled. Then he went on the clean the upper side of the sandals with his bare hands.
The controversial minister took a few steps ahead and the sandal slipped again. The man was back in action and was seen fitting the sandals properly to his foot after which Maharathy went inside.
All this was happening in full public view with journalists and other staff present on the scene.
When the journalists wanted to ask him about the incident after the minister came back to his chamber after inaugurating the OPOLFED online sales services, the minister was evasive and dismissive.
“I have health issues that don’t allow me to bend down. A co-worker helps me wear sandals. He is like a younger brother to me and I can’t see what is the fuss about,” said the minister.
The ‘younger brother’ too defended his action said he had done nothing wrong.
It may be noted that a government employee was seen holding a paper packet when the minister wanted to spit his beetle juice while sitting on the dais of a government function. The incident was caught on camera and was published in front pages of a leading local daily.
He has courted controversy on various other occasions such as threatening a lady BJP MLA inside the assembly while the house was on, his alleged involvement in protecting the culprit in Pipli gang rape accused and more recently in the Nabakalebara fiasco where he was seen riding the daru sagadi.