Bihar BJP MLA stirs row with comments on Hindu deities
Lalan Paswan, a BJP MLA from Bihar has landed himself in trouble after allegedly berating certain Hindu gods in video footage that has now gone viral on social media.
In an embarrassment to the BJP in Bihar, one of its MLAs has been accused of hurting Hindu sentiments by allegedly berating Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati and Lord Hanuman.
Lalan Paswan, who represents Pirpainti assembly seat in Bhagalpur district, put his foot in the mouth while announcing his decision not to hold a feast in the memory of his mother who died last week.
In a purported video clip, which has now gone viral on social media and is being flashed by news channels, the MLA can be seen questioning the custom of 'Mrityubhoj' and making a pitch for rationality and scientific temper.
However, in the same breath, he blurts, "Saraswati and Lakshmi are not worshipped by Muslims and Christians. This has not deprived these communities of wealth and learning. Bajrang Bali is not revered in the US but the country is still a superpower. It is all just a matter of belief."
PTI could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
The alleged comments, however, led to an outrage with some radical Hindu groups burning an effigy of the MLA in Bhagalpur town.
BJP leaders were reluctant to comment on the episode though other parties were quick to latch on to the opportunity.
"We hope the MLA does not need the votes of those who worship gods and goddesses," quipped RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari.
He also wondered how the BJP reconciled such statements with its war cry being 'Jai Shri Ram'.
Congress legislative party leader Ajeet Sharma, who is also the second term Bhagalpur MLA, said, "I am a proud Hindu who worships all gods and goddesses. Paswan is entitled to his beliefs but he should have refrained from making a public statement on the same."
Paswan, meanwhile, claimed that the video clip was "edited" and showered effusive praise on BJP and RSS, "to which people like me, born in a caste deemed to be untouchable, owe their standing".
A first-term MLA, Paswan has remained in news in his less than two years-long-tenure, often for the wrong reasons.
He hogged the limelight soon after the 2020 assembly polls by leaking an audio clip in which RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who was then in judicial custody, could be heard asking him over the phone to abstain from voting for the Speaker's election.
Last year, a video went viral in which he was shown selling 'bhoonja', a popular snack made of puffed rice and roasted gram, at a roadside stall.
Another video went viral earlier this year in which he could be seen gyrating lustily alongside a bunch of female dancers.