Meet The Minister Who Touches His Wife's Feet Every Morning

23/03/2015 5:51 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 14: Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Najib Jung administers the oath to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sandeep Kumar during the Delhi state swearing-in ceremony at the Ramlila Ground on February 14, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Arvind Kejriwal promised to make Delhi India's first corruption-free city and end what he called its 'VIP culture' as he was sworn in as chief minister on Saturday in front of a huge crowd of cheering supporters. He also said the anti-corruption helpline started during the previous term of the AAP government would be resumed shortly. He directed everyone to bring it to the government's notice if anyone offered them bribes. He added, '67 out of 70 seats is god's miracle. God wants us to do something big. He has chosen us as a medium.' Lieutenant Governor Dr Najeeb Jung administered the oath of office to the AAP Cabinet. Others who took oath as ministers on Saturday were Manish Sisodia, Asim Ahmed Khan, Sandeep Kumar, Satyendra Jain, Gopal Rai and Jitendra Tomar. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI—It's fair to say that Delhi minister for women and child development is an atypical Indian man. He starts his day by touching his wife's feet.

This disclosure Sandeep Kumar made in the Delhi Assembly on International Women's Day has catapulted him, a little-known Aam Aadmi Party politician, into contention for India's most popular man among women.

“I touch my parents’ feet because they brought me into this world, raised me and gave me a good education," he told Indian Express in an interview. "But after them, it is my wife who has been with me through thick and thin and I respect her just as much.”

The 34-year-old lawyer, who is the youngest minister in Arvind Kejriwal's cabinet, won the scheduled caste reserved seat from Sultanpur Majri in northwest Delhi. He beat the four-time sitting MLA, Congress' Jai Kishan, in what was the highest margin by percentage (56 percent), in the Delhi state election this February. The young minister's statement has apparently earned him both bouquets and brickbats.

While the statement has endeared the minister to many, he has also been hearing from people who felt his words were a misfit in a male-dominated society.

"I told them that it is this mentality they have to change," he said. "A person who does not respect women has no right to be called a human being.”

A distant relative of his even landed up at their house, alleging that Kumar's statement had "hurt the honour of the family."

His wife Ritu stood firmly by her husband's side. "We told them they had no right to interfere in our lives.”

It's a rather charming story, of a couple who were college sweethearts and overcame opposition from her family due to his poor financial background, and has stuck together through the rough and tumble.

Read his full interview here.

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