The BJP has distanced itself from the action of Usha Thakur, its MLA from Indore III, who, it has been reported, worshipped images of the controversial godman Asaram Bapu at a public function on New Year’s Eve.

Asaram is currently in the Jodhpur Central Prison, under trial for allegedly raping a minor. It was reported that Ms. Thakur performed aarti to images of Asaram at a bhajan at Narsingh Vatika in Indore on December 31. She, however, told reporters that though she had participated in the event, she did not worship Asaram.

BJP spokesman Deepak Vijayvargiya told The Hindu: “Religion and faith are personal. The BJP does not comment on an individual’s faith in whomsoever he/she wants to worship.”

But the Congress hit out at the BJP, saying the incident exposed the party. “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,” Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja, told The Hindu .