Barabanki: UP Minister Satish Sharma faced flak from the opposition Monday after a video surfaced online showing him washing his hands at a shivling in the Lodheshwar Mahadev temple here.
The video clip showed the Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies washing his hand in the ‘argha,’ or the base, of the shivling with the help of a priest.
Congress and the Samajwadi Party took exception to the act and demanded the resignation of the minister for “insulting the Sanatan dharma.” Minister Sharma countered the allegations saying he did nothing wrong, if he had, the priest would have stopped him.
The priest of the temple said that as the minister had ‘prasad’ in his hand, he helped him wash them in the ‘argha’ of the shivling and there was nothing wrong with this.
The incident happened on August 27, when Sharma visited the temple with Public Works Minister Jitin Prasad.
Sharma and district in-charge minister Jitin Prasad had gone to Hetmapur village of Ramnagar tehsil to distribute relief material to the flood victims and both of them had stopped to pray at the temple.
UP Congress President Ajay Rai said, “The minister should know what he is doing. Will we wash our hands when we offer water and pay our respects? The minister has insulted Sanatan Dharma.” Congress leader Surendra Rajput said Satish Sharma had insulted the Lord Shiva with his act and must be sacked.
“Washing hands in the ‘argh’ of shivling is an unrighteous act. Only those who do not care about Sanatan Dharma can do this. The BJP minister has insulted Lord Shiva. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should sack him for this anti-religious act,” he said.
Samajwadi Party leader and former MLC Sunil Singh Sajan said that if the leader belonged to some other caste, the BJP would have expelled him by now.
“When will Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expel this ‘adharmi’ minister? This is the real character of the BJP. First, they will ask for votes in the name of religion and then do such things,” Sajan said.
Satish Sharma told PTI that the opposition was unnecessarily blowing up the matter.
“I am a Sanatani Shiv bhakt. I know very well what is right and what is wrong. The opposition is unnecessarily blowing up the issue,” he said.
“I did what I felt was right. It was not my intention to hurt anyone. If I was wrong, the priest would not have washed my hands,” added the BJP minister.
Aditya Tiwari, the priest of Lodheshwar Mahadev Temple, said that the minister had done nothing wrong.
“Minister Sharma had sandalwood etc on his hands after performing the puja. When he asked to wash his hands, they were washed next to shivling. This was done because it was in the form of prasad. There is nothing wrong in this,” Tiwari told PTI.