Madhya Pradesh minister Kusum Mahdele, who was caught on camera purportedly kicking a boy, on Monday sought to defend herself by saying that the video being played on news channels was an "absolute lie", even as the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party demanded her resignation over the issue.
TV channels had on Sunday aired footage of Animal Husbandry Minister Mahdele purportedly kicking the boy, with a video clip of the incident also going viral on social media.
In the video, Mahdele, one of the senior members of the state Cabinet, was seen kicking the boy as he bowed to touch her feet at a function organised to celebrate Madhya Pradesh Foundation Day near the bus stand in Panna district.
"As I was going towards my car, there was a reporter who with a cameraman came to take my interview. I was answering some questions while moving towards my car when somebody fell on my feet. Nothing more than this happened. So, I didn't even see his face. I have not seen any video yet. The video being played on various channels is an absolute lie," she said.
Demanding that Mahdele be sacked, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari said, "Such a minister should be sacked from the government. Those who can be insensitive towards children... can go around kicking children, they should have no place in the government."
"The unfortunate reality is that the government -- the BJP-led NDA at the Centre and the state dispensation -- are extremely immune to criticism. Therefore, you will find out that no action will be taken," he added.
The Aam Aadmi Party too sought her resignation and petitioned the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission for stern action against her.
"We lodged a complaint with MPHRC acting Chairman Veerendra Mohan Kanwar seeking stern action against Mahdele for meting out ill-treatment to the boy who sought Re 1 help from her," AAP state Secretary Akshay Hoonka told PTI.
When the minister kicked the boy on his head, local leaders and Panna district administration remained mute spectators to the inhumane act, Hoonka alleged.
The BJP has failed to provide education to children in MP and instead of helping them, it was kicking them, he claimed.
The AAP leader said the minister has grossly violated human rights and she should be punished.
"We also protested near the MPHRC office and at Mahdele's residence in Panna district seeking her resignation," he said.
The minister had been in the headlines for varied reasons. Recently, she was ridiculed for having sent a bizarre suggestion to the state forest department seeking a law that allows people to domesticate big cats like lions and tigers for their conservation.
Mehdele had also sparked controversy, when at a function in Damoh district, she said that no farmer commits suicide at the death of a young son, then how could they do so at the failure of their crops.