A Bharatiya Janata Party worker washed party MP Nishikant Dubey's feet and drank the water at a function in Jharkhand's Godda district, triggering an uproar.
The incident came to light when Dubey went to lay the foundation stone of a bridge at Kanbhara village in Godda block -- around 330 km from Ranchi -- on Sunday, with Pawan Kumar Sah washing the feat of the BJP MP on a metal plate and then gulping it.
The incident in full public view went viral on social media and sparked controversy. Criticising the incident, the state Congress described it as shameful. "WOW! Washing the feet has been tradition, says BJP. And making an OBC drink the same water is also BJP tradition? Shameful!" it posted on Twitter.
Dubey, meanwhile, addressed a press conference here on Monday in the presence of Sah, alleging that the Opposition was harping on the incident after failing to cash in on issues like the Rafale deal and fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya.
When pressed further, the two-time MP from Godda constituency pointed towards Sah and said he would answer.
Justifying his act, Sah said Dubey was like his elder brother and he had decided to do the ritual after the sanction of the bridge.
Denying any possibility of being forced to wash Dubey's feet, he said, "There was a knife with me. Had anybody put pressure on me I would have stabbed myself."
"Washing his feet and consuming the water had been in my mind when I told him (Dubey) to construct a bridge, so that reaching to a hospital would be reduced by seven km," the party worker said, warning that he would to lodge a case if anybody indulged in misinformation.