Behera was the chief guest at the Independence Day celebration at the district headquarter town of Keonjhar and hoisted the tricolour. After unfurling the national flag his PSO was seen tying his shoelaces.

After the local news channels aired the video, the state Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises minister said, "I am a VIP. I have hoisted the flag, he (PSO) has not done it."

The incident and subsequent statement of the minister faced criticism from many quarters including the civil society members.

"A government employee tying shoelaces of the minister shows existence of British rulers' mindset in Odisha," said Prahallad Singh, an advocate.

There was no comment by the government on the incident.

Meanwhile, in his defence, Behera said, "My left leg is in a lot of pain, I can't bend, hence PSO volunteered to tie my shoelaces. He is like my son. Infact I have been consulting a doctor in AIIMS in Delhi, can show you prescriptions."

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