Days after a Yajna was suggested to ward off evil spirits supposed to be haunting the Rajasthan Assembly, what has now emerged is that Lalu Prasad Yadav's son Tej Pratap Yadav has vacated his government-provided bungalow in Patna fearing ghosts.
And what's more, Tej Pratap has alleged that the ghosts have been let loose to haunt him by the BJP.
"I decided to vacate the bungalow because (chief minister) Nitish (Kumar) and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi had released ghosts in it. The ghosts were haunting me," Tej Pratap was quoted as saying in a PTI report.
The politician had earlier made some alterations to the bungalow to bring in elements of Vaastu Shastra -- traditional architectural beliefs - and also used the rear exit instead of the main entrance to ward off evil spirits. But Yadav found the changes did little to deter the stubborn ghosts. The MLA finally moved out.
Last month, an MLA had suggested Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to perform Yajna to rid the Assembly House of the influence of "ghosts". The deaths of two sitting MLAs within six months have made legislators wary as they fear that the Assembly building may have come under the influence of so-called evil spirits.
Rajasthan Congress' Dheeraj Gurjar had then said said that such things would encourage superstition.
"Mujhe toh sadan mein kabhi bhooton ka ehsaas nahi hua, yeh log shayad kamzoor dil hain shayad ki unko bhooton ka ehsaah hua. Iss tarah ki baaton se logon mein andh-vishwaas phelta hai (I have never felt any ghosts in the House. Some people are probably faint hearted. Such things encourage superstition)," Gurjar told reporters.
Rationalists said they were worried about the trend. Mukta Dabholkar, daughter of slain rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, said it was disheartening that lawmakers had no 'scientific temper' or 'spirit of inquiry'.
"If something is not going right it has to have some explanation. You cannot explain it in terms of black magic or a bad curse," she said.
Some legislators made such statements because they lacked a scientific temperament, she said. "Or perhaps they want to distract people's attention from real issues," said Dabholkar, who is also a member of her father's organisation, the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs