As unseasonal hailstorm and heavy showers damaged crops in parts of Maharashtra, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader has asked the farmers to chant mantras to fight natural disasters.

Ramesh Saxena, a former MLA from Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore constituency, on Monday said since experts have predicted bad weather over the next four-five days, farmers must chant the Hanuman Chalisa [a hymn dedicated to Hanuman] everyday for an hour to prevent any natural calamity, ANI reported.

“I can guarantee that if every village chants the Hanuman Chalisa for one hour everyday, we can avoid natural disasters,” ANI quoted Saxena as saying. “I appeal to the youth to chant the Hanuman Chalisa over the next five days.”

Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Minister Balakrishna Patidar said if someone wants to read the Hanuman Chalisa, there is nothing wrong with it, News18 reported. “All of this is a religious belief,” Patidar added.

Three people died in the hailstorm that lashed parts of central Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha. There was heavy rain in Beed, Osmanabad, Latur, Nanded, Parbhani, Hingoli, Dhule, Nandurbar, Aurangabad and some other districts of Maharashtra as well on Sunday.

The storm severely damaged grapes, cotton, green gram and wheat crops. Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar has ordered an assessment of the damage. Fundkar said the government would hold a meeting with crop insurance companies on Monday.

The minister also directed administrative officials to visit every affected village, document the losses and file a report. “A sizeable loss of cattle and poultry has been reported,” an official of the Aurangabad Divisional Commissionerate said. “The damage assessment report will be finalised in a couple of days.”