Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey on Monday defended a supporter who washed his feet and drank the water used for it at an event in his constituency Godda in Jharkhand the previous day. The legislator said he also hoped to do the same for Pawan Sah, who washed his feet.
The Congress criticised the BJP and asked if it will act against Dubey, and called him a “habitual offender of insulting others and of self-prophesying a God-like status”.
Dubey had posted a video of the incident on Facebook, which has since been deleted, ANI reported. Writing on the social media website, he tried to dismiss allegations of casteism. “Can I change my parents?” he asked. “Does my father deserve abuse because I am a Brahmin? I don’t know whether anyone did it, but I also drank the water left over after washing the feet of my teacher, who was a Kurmi [classified as a backward class].”
“Even Krishna washed Sudama’s feet in Mahabharata,” he said, adding that he hoped some day, he will also get the privilege of doing the same to party workers like Pawan. “It is because of the love and support of people like him that I am alive today,” he added.
He said he had obliged in order to not hurt Sah’s sentiments.
Pawan Sah later told ANI that the matter should not be politicised. “What crime did I commit if I washed his feet and drank water?” he asked. “It was my sentiment. He is like my elder brother. I will file a case against all those slandering me.”
“Has the arrogance of BJP leaders reached such a zenith that now they want their workers and common people to wash their feet and drink that water?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told ANI. “If they will not take action then it will be proved that it is with active support and connivance of Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] and BJP president [Amit Shah].”
In July, Dubey had drawn criticism for an apparent homophobic and sexist comment while criticising Congress President Rahul Gandhi. He had said the ruling party’s leaders feared hugging Gandhi “as their wives may divorce them”. He had also made a reference to the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised homosexual acts and has been read down by the Supreme Court since.