The BJP has distanced itself from reports that its MLA from Indore III constituency Usha Thakur worshipped images of tainted preacher Asaram at a public function on New Year’s eve. Asaram is currently in Jodhpur Central Prison under trial for allegedly raping a minor.

It was reported that Ms. Thakur performed an aarti of Asaram at a bhajan programme in Narsingh Vatika in Indore on December 31. She told reporters that she had participated in the event but had not worshipped Asaram.

BJP spokesman Deepak Vijayvargiya told The Hindu that the party has no role to play. “Religion and faith is personal. The BJP does not comment on an individual’s faith in whomsoever they want to worship,” he said.

Congress’ Indore Spokesman Narendra Saluja told The Hindu that this exposed the character of the BJP. “BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Prabhat Jha had opposed the arrest of Asaram. In Indore their supporters tried to intervene when he was arrested. Now their MLA is worshipping this man accused of rape. This exposes the dual nature of the party that harps on character,” he said.