A massive political controversy was triggered on Tuesday as the BJP took on Congress party president Rahul Gandhi over a remark he allegedly made in a behind-closed-doors meeting, regarding Hindutva.
BJP spokesperson Dr Sambit Patra has claimed that in a meeting that Rahul Gandhi held with regional editors in Hyderabad on Monday, the Congress president was asked about whether he was adopting a soft-Hindutva approach in the lead up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In response to this, Rahul Gandhi allegedly claimed that he didn't believe in any form of Hindutva, and made statements heavily-laden with insincerity about his highly-publicised visits to temples and religious icons ahead of two major elections that have been held in the last year, namely, in Gujarat and in Karnataka.
As per reports shared by the BJP, Rahul Gandhi has been quoted saying that he doesn't believe in any kind of Hindutva -- softcore or hardcore -- and that he visits religious places and spiritual leaders, as he has been doing since 2004, because he regularly gets invitations and that he sees nothing wrong in accepting them.
(Rahul Gandhi at the Chamunda temple in Gujarat)
Slamming Rahul Gandhi, Dr Sambit Patra wrote:
"While interacting with Journalists in Hyderabad Rahul Gandhi says He doesn’t believe in any form of “Hindutva”..people in states invite Him to temples and to meet spiritual leaders so He visits them ..not out of any faith!"
The BJP, which is also likely to hold a news briefing on the remark, has regularly alleged that Rahul Gandhi's pre-election 'Temple Runs' are nothing but eyewash with polls and appeasement in mind.
Ahead of last year's Gujarat Assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi had made a beeline for a number of temples, including the famed Somnath Temple. When asked about his visits, he said:
"Whenever I went to a temple I just prayed for a 'Sunehra Bhavishya' for the people of Gujarat; better development here. Is it wrong to go to a temple?"
"I keep visiting temples. I also visited Kedarnath. This is BJP's theory that I don't visit temples."
Similarly, while campaigning for the Karnataka elections, Rahul Gandhi, whose party had been accused of playing politics over the electorally-significant Lingayat community, had visited numerous religious hotspots, including paying his respects to Lingayat seer Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu at the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur.