Congress MP Shashi Tharoor faced criticism from several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders on Wednesday for his remark about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath taking a dip in the Ganga at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.

Tharoor had posted a picture of Adityanath and several ministers taking a dip in the river on Tuesday night. “You want to keep the Ganga clean and still wash your sins here,” the Congress leader wrote in a rare tweet in Hindi. “Everyone’s naked in the Sangam.”

Union minister Smriti Irani said the statement was tantamount to a religious slur, ANI reported. “The question needs to be asked of Rahul Gandhi, who strategically wears a ‘janeu’ [sacred thread] only when there are polls, as to why he has allowed this attack on beliefs of millions of Hindus across the world,” she said.

BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh, who is a minister in the state government, claimed Tharoor did not understand the importance of Kumbh.

“The atmosphere he’s in, the culture he has been brought up in, doesn’t understand this,” Singh said. “You people have committed a lot of misdeeds, take a holy dip in Kumbh and you might be able to repent for your sins.”

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli described Tharoor’s remarks as “very unfortunate”, according to ANI. “An extremely educated and respected person like Tharoor always comes up with such kinds of comments related to practices of the Hindu religion,” said Kohli. He claimed that Tharoor would never tweet about practices associated with other religions.

Adityanath and a number of state ministers had held a Cabinet meeting at the Kumbh Mela venue before taking the holy dip at the Sangam on Tuesday, PTI reported. The meeting was held at an integrated control and command centre set up at the venue of the religious event.