I wonder whether news of Indian priests doing a purification ritual after a minister belonging to a lower caste visited a temple comes as a surprise in a country where religion plays a big role in politics?

Sadhus or Hindu holy men chant hymns as they carry a photograph of the Hindu god Shiva in Jammu in this July 1, 2004 file photo. REUTERS/Amit Gupta

While officials in Orissa said they will question the priests for throwing away holy offerings and washing the floors after the minister's visit to the temple this week, the incident has left the controversial minister angry.

Pramila Mallick, the Orissa state minister for women and child welfare, said her political rivals must have been behind it because she had been to the temple a few times without any fuss.

Mallick is said to be partial to lower caste voters who have been instrumental in her winning elections, while ignoring upper-caste people who administer temples.