As Elections Approach, ‘Shiv Bhakt’ Rahul Gandhi Resumes Temple Run With This Tweet
As Elections Approach, ‘Shiv Bhakt’ Rahul Gandhi Resumes Temple Run With This TweetRahul Gandhi at the Somnath Temple (INC India/Twitter)

With elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh approaching, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has resumed his temple run. Gandhi, who the party says is a ‘Shiv bhakt’, left for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra on Friday.

As he embarked on the 12-day journey, which the Congress party will use to shape his image ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Gandhi shared a picture of Mount Kailash – considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva - on microblogging site Twitter. Along with the picture, he posted Sanskrit shloka ''Asato Ma Sat Gamaya'', which roughly translates into a prayer seeking truth.

"Shiv bhakt Congress president Rahul Gandhi has left for undertaking the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, where he will take the 'parikarma' of Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva, and of Mansarovar lake. The yatra will take around 12 to 15 days, but the exact route cannot be disclosed due to security reasons," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said late on Friday.

Gandhi’s visits to temples, which started during the Gujarat elections last year and continued in Karnataka, are likely to get frequent as elections approach. Political observers have said that the Congress could experiment with soft Hindutva in the upcoming state polls and the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

In January, the All India Congress Committee had asked party’s state units in Rajasthan to prepare a list of temples which Gandhi could visit to derive political mileage in election season, Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar had reported.

In Gujarat, the Gandhi had visited over 27 temples during the election season, including the Vir Meghmaya Temple in Patan, Bahucharji Temple in Mehsana and Khotidyar Temple in Varana. (Also Read: Gujarat Turns Gandhi Into A Bhakt; BJP’s Counter Should Be To Put His Skin In The Game) Days ahead of the election, Surjewala had said that the Congress president is a “janeu-dhari Hindu”.

In Karnataka, he had visited Shringeri Sharadamba Temple in Chikmagalur district. Dressed in traditional temple attire of a dhothi and shalya, the Congress president had met Sringeri mutt pontiff Bharati Tirtha Swami. He had also visited Dodda Ganapathi temple at Basavanagudi in Bengaluru.

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