Photographs of Bihar Education and IT Minister Ashok Kumar Choudhary holding snakes during an alleged 'superstitious ritual' have gone viral on the Internet.
The recently-appointed minister in the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's cabinet, Chaudhary is seen holding a snake, wrapping it on his hands and smiling at the photographer. Another photo shows state Congress vice-president Subodh Kumar with the snake around his neck.
The minister though has denied the report. He argued that the pictures that are circulating online are old ones and that he is against superstition.
"I am against superstition. These are old pictures... Snake charmers had come to entertain children. They put the snakes in my hands," Choudhary, also the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee chief, told the Indian Express, adding that the photos were from a "Makar Sankranti puja".
Soon after the photograph went viral, Mangal Pandey, state Bharatiya Janata Party president, took a jibe and commented that the Jungle Raj in Bihar has started and this is just an example.