Two Gujarat cabinet ministers waded into a controversy after they attended a felicitation function of alleged exorcists in Botad district. A video of the event, which as per the invitation card, was organised by the local BJP unit at a temple in Gadhada town, went viral on social media.
In the video, Gujarat Education and Revenue Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama along with local MLA and state Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Atmaram Parmar can be seen on the dais watching a couple of exorcists beating themselves with metal chains to live music near the stage.
Later, around 100 so-called exorcists can be seen shaking hands with the ministers on the stage as part of their felicitation.
However, unfazed by the controversy, Chudasama on Sunday said that those present on the occasion were "worshippers of divine power".
"I attended the programme because it was a gathering of worshippers of divine power, not those who spread superstition," he said on Sunday in his defence when asked by reporters here.
Taking a strong exception to the ministers' presence at the event, prominent rationalist Jayant Pandya said he would write to the chief minister Vijay Rupani to stop ministers from attending events that promote superstition.
"This is very shameful. I will write to the CM to stop government functionaries from attending such programs which spread superstition."
"This is for the first time I have seen ministers attending such an event, where exorcists were felicitated. This is very shameful. I will write to the CM to stop government functionaries from attending such programs which spread superstition," said Pandya, who heads the NGO 'Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha'.