Ahmedabad: Has Rahul Gandhi started wearing Rudraksha beads?
This is the question that is being raised after Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday addressed a press conference here after visiting Jagannath Temple here. Attired in a white kurta-pajama, Rahul could be seen wearing Rudraksha type beads around his neck as he addressed media.
His grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi used to wear Rudraksha beads too. They are associated with the Hindu deity Lord Shiva and are commonly worn for protection by his devotees. It is being speculated that he may have got the Rudraksha beads from the Jagannath Temple where after performing prayers, Rahul and priest Dilip Das had gone to a room that was declared out of bounds for the media.
The development has aroused curiosity among political watchers as the Congress President elect has been facing criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over his temple visits in poll bound Gujarat. While campaigning for the Congress party in the Gujarat assembly elections, Rahul has been visiting various temples. The BJP has been targeting Rahul over his temple visits and terms it as political move to woo Hindu votes.
Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said in Totana that “The Gujarat election has done two things: it has taught former prime minister Manmohan Singh to speak and Rahul Gandhi to visit temples.”
This is not the first time the newly elected Congress President has come under the attack of the BJP over his temple visits. During his visit to Somnath Temple on November 29, a controversy erupted after Rahul’s name along with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was allegedly mentioned as non-Hindus in the visitor book of the temple.
Sensing the damage the news could do in majority Hindu state like Gujarat during the elections, the Congress came up with a claim that Rahul Gandhi is a janeu-dhari (the one who wears Brahminical thread) Hindu. The Congress also issued clarification on Twitter.
“Clarification: There is only one visitor’s book at Somnath Temple that was signed by Congress VP Rahul Gandhi. Any other image being circulated is fabricated. Desperate times call for desperate measures?” tweeted the Congress.
The BJP is ruling Gujarat from last 22 years and the Congress is eyeing a comeback. The first phase of assembly elections in Gujarat were conducted on December 9 in 89 constituencies and the polling for the second phase will be held on December 14 for 93 assembly constituencies. Counting of votes and the results would be announced together on December 18.