Even as the entire nation was mourning the demise of "People's President" APJ Abdul Kalam, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi courted controversy by dancing at a tea estate. He was vehemently criticised for the act, forcing him to apologise later for displaying insensitivity.
The chief minister was on a visit to a tea estate in upper Assam's Kaziranga, where he was dancing 'jhumoor' (a traditional dance) along with two girls of the tea tribe community.
The footage, shown on many TV channels, went viral, triggering severe criticism that Gogoi allegedly breached protocol with his dance act at a time when the nation was observing a seven-day mourning.
Taking a dim view of Gogoi's insensitive act, Sammujjal Bhattacharjya, adviser to the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), said it was 'shocking' and deserves to be 'condemned'.
Assam BJP president Siddhartha Bhattacharya called it a 'shameful' act and was unbecoming of a chief minister.
Eventually, Tarun Gogoi extended an apology. "I should not have danced. I had forgotten for a moment about Kalam's death and I apologis for this," ABP Live referred to a newspaper that quoted him as saying.
But he still defended playing golf at the tea estate, saying, "playing games was not wrong."
Incidentally, Gogoi's close friend and veteran Congress leader B.K. Handique had passed away four days ago.
The tea garden management had a different version, saying no formal 'jhumoor' dancing troupe was arranged.
"Two girls traditionally dressed had applied a tilak on his forehead and then bowed down to touch his feet. The Chief Minister then in a spontaneous act just danced a couple of steps. The channels which showed the CM dancing, never showed an entire group of dancers."