Karnataka Water Resources Minister MB Patil is in the eye of storm for performing rituals to appease the rain god. The matter snowballed into a major controversy with the opposition BJP accusing the state Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka of having “double-standards” on such issues.

Taking a dig at the ruling party, BJP leader Jagadsh Shettar said on one hand the chief minister known for his rational outlook is propagating the need for anti-superstition bill while his own minister is performing ‘parjanya homa’ to invoke rain god. Shettiar also congratulated Patil for taking BJP’s “line” by following Hindu culture and traditions, which the Congress has tried to stay away from in the garb of “secularism”.

However, the water minister played down the controversy and gave his won explanation to justify his move. He said that even Indian Space Research Organisation performs such rituals before any launch.

“Even the ISRO scientists offered special puja and prayers at Tirupati prior to launching GSLV Mk III rocket recently. It has been reported in the media that scientists had offered special prayers by keeping a replica of the satellite. Will BJP leaders, who want me to resign for performing puja, seek the resignation of central government under which ISRO is working?” he said.

He said it has been part of “our culture” and “tradition” to offer puja to rivers. The rituals were performed to invoke rain God, at Mahabaleshwar and Talacauvery, the birth places of Krishna and Cauvery rivers respectively. The minister later clarified he had not performed any “homa or hava”, but only “puja or japa”.

CM Siddaramaiah had already distanced himself  from the controversy, saying that Minister Patil performed the puja in his personal capacity.