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2-min read

Decoding Rahul Gandhi's Satra controversy

Even before the yatra ended, we could hear murmurs of protest about Congress's appeasement policy and how an important religious institution of the majority community was given a miss by Rahul Gandhi.

Subhajit Sengupta | CNN-IBNSubhajitSG

Updated:December 15, 2015, 8:10 AM IST
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Decoding Rahul Gandhi's Satra controversy
Even before the yatra ended, we could hear murmurs of protest about Congress's appeasement policy and how an important religious institution of the majority community was given a miss by Rahul Gandhi.

On the second day of his Assam trip, Rahul Gandhi had a padyatra scheduled in Barpeta. He was supposed to start from Barpeta Xatra (an important landmark for Vaishnavite culture) and conclude it in front of a mosque at Medhitari village. Barpeta was chosen, as Congress wants to increase hold in this area. Barpeta has 50% Muslim population and in the last elections, AIUDF had won 4 of the 5 seats from this area and 1 seat went to Congress. This time when the Congress is feeling the heat in Upper Assam, they are looking at Lower Assam and essentially areas like Barpeta to maintain the hold in the state.

On Saturday when Rahul left from Guwahati he was delayed by over an hour because of the overcast conditions, this delayed his yatra and his already packed schedule. Once in Barpeta, he went ahead with his march, without visiting the Xatra. The reason for this remains shrouded in controversy, till date.

Even before the yatra ended, we could hear murmurs of protest about Congress's appeasement policy and how an important religious institution of the majority community was given a miss by Rahul Gandhi. However, just after the yatra, he made a quick detour and went back to the Xatra. But by then, the rumour mill was about how Rahul gave it a slip.

When Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was asked to comment on the issue, he claimed that he had intelligence input that RSS and the BJP had planted thirty odd women in the Xatra, a claim which was supported by Rahul Gandhi in the Monday morning sound byte given in Parliament.

But there was one hitch. Speaking to the local media, the state Irrigation Minister Chandan Sarkar had said that Rahul didn't go because he didn't want to violate the customs of taking a bath, wearing dhoti and then going in. He went on to say if Xatra would invite him, he would certainly make a visit sometime in the future. Not only him, even the state president Anjan Dutta was quoted by a local newspaper that Rahul was running late so he couldn't visit Xatra in the beginning of his seven kilometer long march.

The BJP in the end appears to be the unlikely winner of the situation. They have now accused Rahul Gandhi of falsehood, using the statements of his own local leaders. And for Congress, this is certainly a controversy they could have done without!

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