Karnataka minister’s slipper-rubbing video goes viral, neta justifies his action

MYSURU/BENGALURU: A video clip that shows N Mahesh running a pair of (or padukas) over his body went viral on social media on Tuesday. The months-old video has shocked supporters of the minister, who is the sole representative from the BSP in the HD Kumaraswamy cabinet.

In an earlier video, Mahesh, who represents the , was seen falling at the feet of Suttur Mutt pontiff Shivaratri Deshikendra.

The clip comes a couple of weeks after a video showed legislative assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar performing pada puja to a boy.

Some Dalit activists have questioned minister Mahesh’s superstitious beliefs like holding the slipper and falling at the pontiff’s feet. A few others have justified the minister’s act, saying he’s following a tradition prevalent in his hometown. Sources said the video of Mahesh with the padukas is two months old.

Minister says it’s part of custom

Sources said the video of Mahesh with the seer was a recent one, and the one with the padukas (a pair of wooden slippers) is two months old. “Kollegal — Mahesh’s constituency — has many Lingayat-Veerashaiva voters and the Suttur seer is very influential. So the minister met him and sought his blessings,” said a supporter of the minister.

About the padukas video, the minister said it was done as part of the customs followed in Devanpete Mutt, Kollegal, during the assembly elections. “I don’t believe in a single religion. I respect all religions and customs. There’s no need to hype the matter now,” he said.

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