Rahul Gandhi's Name 'Entered' as non-Hindu at Somnath Temple, BJP Questions His Faith
The Congress Vice-President's name was entered as "Rahul Gandhiji" above that of Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Patel in the book, which all non-Hindu visitors to the revered shrine are supposed to sign
Rahul Gandhi at the Somnath Temple on November 29. (Image: INCIndia/Twitter)
Ahmedabad: Rahul Gandhi's temple run in poll-bound Gujarat hit a landmine on Wednesday after his name was "entered" in a register for non-Hindus at the Somnath Temple, prompting the BJP to question his faith and the Congress to allege mischief.
The Congress Vice-President's name was entered as "Rahul Gandhiji" above that of Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Patel in the book, which all non-Hindu visitors to the revered shrine are supposed to fill up, and this was signed by the party’s media coordinator Manoj Tyagi.
As the BJP pounced on the purported gaffe with glee to question the Congress leader's poll-time visits to temples in Gujarat, Tyagi told CNN-News18 that he had only signed the register and left the columns vacant for entering the names of visiting mediapersons and that the names of Patel and Gandhi were entered by "someone else."
According to the rules of the ancient temple, non-Hindus have to sign on a register before entering inside. Tyagi's contention was that he never knew the book he was signing was for that purpose, and that in any case he did not write the names of the two Congress leaders.
An entry in another book for visitors at the temple showed that Gandhi had signed under the comment "a very inspiring place".
BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy immediately latched on to it saying Gandhi "is a Christian and that he goes to church every Sunday."
The entry in the Somnath Temple visitor's book. (Image: News18)
Congress leaders then went on an overdrive, with Randeep Surjewala pointing out that Gandhi is "not only a Hindu, a janeu-dhari Hindu". "His sister got married in a Hindu ceremony and Rahul Gandhi conducted the last rites of his father according to the Hindu tradition," Surjewala added.
Other party spokespersons also hit out saying the BJP was resorting to such controversies because it sensed defeat in Gujarat. "Every leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been criticising Rahul Gandhi's visits to temples while on his Navsarjan Yatra. This is politics of the lowest possible kind," Sanjay Jha said.
PK Lakheri, a trustee of the Somnath Temple, clarified: "Apparently, the name of Ahmed Patel had to be written by the person in the register, but he wrote two names. Whether the name of Rahul Gandhi was written inadvertently or whether it was written correctly, is for the media team of the Congress to clarify.
The Congress leader's visit to temples in the election bound state — he has prayed at as many as 12 temples over the last two months — has been mocked by BJP with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising it in his election rally speeches. Gandhi so far has sought to deflect all such talk saying he is a "shiv bhakt”.
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