News reports of a seat on the Kashi-Mahakal Express launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi being "reserved for Lord Shiva" drew a wordless jibe on Twitter from AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, who posted an image of the preamble to the constitution tagging the Prime Minister's Office.
Reports said seat number 64 of coach B5 in the Kashi-Mahakal Express, which connects three Jyotirlingas (Lord Shiva relics) in two states, has turned into a mini-temple devoted to Lord Shiva.
Images show an upper berth converted into a shrine with staff praying before it. The seat would be left vacant for the deity, railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying.
Asaduddin Owaisi, the Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad, reacted to the images this morning.
The Railways today said any "prayers" offered to idols on the Kashi-Mahakal Express were only a "one-time affair".
"There is going to be no such reserved or dedicated berth for this purpose in the commercial run of the train," news agency ANI quoted the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) as saying on Monday.
The Kashi Mahakal Express connects Omkareshwar (near Indore), Mahakaleshwar (Ujjain) and Kashi Vishwanath (Varanasi) Jyotirlingas.
The train was flagged off by PM Modi via videoconference. The service will start from Thursday. The spokesperson said a seat had been "reserved" for a deity for the first time on any train. Officials are considering devotional music and all-vegetarian meals on the gleaming new, fully air-conditioned train that will run thrice a week.