India Election Sees Shoes Fly, Politicos Duck

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2009 5:56 PM CDT
A journalist, wearing a turban, who threw a shoe at Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram, center left, is escorted away by officials in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, April 7, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Inspired by the Iraqi reporter who hurled his shoes at President Bush, the world’s largest democracy has picked up the habit, the Los Angeles Times reports. In recent weeks, three people have enlivened India's national election by flinging footwear at politicians—always missing, but sparking much publicity. "Flying footwear are now the weapons of mass distraction," ran one headline.

Politicians are even heightening security and asking party employees to show up barefoot. Hurled shoes not only hurt, they are considered disrespectful in India, where feet and shoe-making are associated with lower castes.  But in a nation where millions of people go barefoot, one blogger wrote, politicians should create employment "so we can get jobs and earn some money to buy shoes."