A affectionate peck on his cheek by a local body woman member left Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah visibly embarrassed on Sunday.
Standing next to the chief minister for a group photo at a felicitation function in the Bangalore Palace grounds here, Tarikere taluka panchayat member Girija Srinivas suddenly leapt and kissed the 68-year-old leader, taking him and others by surprise.
"As I got excited standing next to him for a photo, I felt like kissing him out of joy and did so without hesitation, as he is like a father (appaji) for us," Girjia told reporters when asked about her act, which made even Siddaramaiah blush and wipe his cheek.
Girija was one of the newly-elected zilla and taluka panchayat members whom the chief minister felicitated at the function, organised by the Karnataka Pradesha Kurubara Sangha.
Though Girija belongs to the Kuruba (shepherd) community like Siddaramaiah and hails from Varuna hamlet in Mysuru district, she is a member of the Amruthapura local body in Chikkamagluru district in Malnad region, 250 km from here.
Siddaramaiah represents the Varuna assembly segment, about 170km from Bengaluru.
Clarifying that her act was not pre-meditated but spontaneous, Girija said she was proud of Siddaramaiah, who was a lion of the community and did so much for it.
"I and my family have known him (Siddaramaiah) since my teenage years as I am originally from Varuna but settled in Chikkamagaluru district after marriage," she said.
Asked about the kiss, a blushing Siddaramaiah said he had known Girija for long and she was like his daughter.