- Usha Thakur is the Minister for Tourism and Culture in Madhya Pradesh
- She was seen performing 'puja' at the Indore airport
- She has previously suggested 'havan' of a cow dung cake to protect house
The worrying surge in coronavirus cases seems to have forced politicians to seek divine intervention to ward off the threat posed by the deadly disease. For instance, Usha Thakur, the Minister for Tourism and Culture in Madhya Pradesh, was seen leading a prayer meet - though without a face mask - in Indore.
The minister was seen performing 'puja' before the statue of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar at the Indore airport. The MLA from Indore's Mhow seat - who was seen clapping and singing before the deity - was joined by Airport Director Aryama Sanyas and other staff members at the ceremony.
Ms Thakur has often been seen without a face mask in public, critics say. During assembly session when she was asked why she is not wearing a mask, Ms Thakur had told NDTV that she doesn't need to wear a mask as she performs 'havan' (ritual burning) every day and recites the Hanuman Chalisa.
Ms Thakur has previously claimed that 'havan' of a cow dung cake can keep a house sanitised for 12 hours.
Last year, a video of Union Minister Ramdas Athawale chanting ''Go corona, go corona'' at a prayer meet had gone viral on social media.
The video - which also featured Chinese Consul General in Mumbai Tang Guocai and Buddhist monks - was reportedly shot at Mumbai's Gateway of India on February 20 during a prayer session to stop the spread of the coronavirus in China.
Madhya Pradesh is among the 10 states accounting for more than 84 per cent of daily cases, according to the Health Ministry.
Madhya Pradesh added 4,882 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking its infection tally to 3,27,220. Over 4,000 people have died due to the virus in the state.
This morning, India set another record of daily Covid cases with 1,45,384 infections in the last 24 hours, pushing the total case count to over 1.3 crore. The surge, much steeper than last year's first wave, has forced many states to impose tight curbs.
India's COVID-19 cases have soared 13-fold in barely two months - a vicious second wave propelled by an open disregard for safety protocols nationwide - that has seen the third-hardest hit country soaring past its mid-September peak of around 98,000 cases a day.
Election rallies, as well as crowded festivals and religious gatherings, have characterised the record resurgence of the new coronavirus.