The Congress which has been on the backfoot ever since its defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and assembly election is trying to revive itself by trying to shed its secular image and adopting soft Hindutva agenda. With an eye on the upcoming Gujarat assembly polls Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has embarked on a tour of the state to connect with voters. He visited four temples in the state a move which is seen by many to counter the allegations made by BJP that Congress is anti-Hindu. Gandhi also attended a garba event organised by MLA Indranil Rajyaguru in Rajkot and performed ‘aarti’ in front of the idol of goddess Durga. Thus the Congress is desperately trying to lure Hindu voters who have of late distanced themselves from the party.
According to sources from Congress, several senior leaders have taken a serious note of Hindu electorate drifting away from the party. Hence efforts are being made to connect with them and to make a dent in the BJP’s traditional votebank. Even Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam had established Sant Mahant Congress cell to voo Hindu voters. Nirupam added that the party can be religious and at the same time maintain its secular identity. On the other hand, BJP took a jibe at Congress party and said that Rahul is visiting temples as his party has failed to win elections in the Gujarat since a long period of time.
Jiva Pandurang Gavit CPI (M) leader said, “Congress used to seek blessings of spiritual leaders before fighting election and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits temples before campaigning. Congress has lost election and they are trying to emulate Modi but they won’t succeed. In Gujarat only two parties exit i.e Congress and BJP. Rahul is following Modi’s strategy. However, many Congress leaders have switched loyalties towards BJP. Since I am a left party leader hence I don’t believe in god. Let Rahul Gandhi visit temple or crematorium.”
Hemant Godse, Shiv Sena MP said, “Since Rahul Gandhi is a loser hence he is indulging in these stunts to revive his party. Today’s voters are aware about reality about Congress. The party has failed to provide good governance despite ruling the country for more than four decades. They lack vision and hence are indulging in such acts.”
Varsha Gaikwad, Congress MLA and ex-education minister said, “Congress is party which takes everyone together. We are following developmental agenda and BJP is only seeking cheap publicity. Rahul Gandhi had promised to waive farm loans if Congress is voted to power in Gujarat. Earlier Indira Gandhi had visited temples but when Rahul Gandhi is visiting temples then BJP is criticising him.”
Sardar Tara Singh, BJP MLA said, “Wherever Modi visits he prays for himself and for well-being of the nation. But Rahul Gandhi is only trying to gain publicity. Since Congress has lost its foothold Rahul is visiting temples. He can’t gain success by merely copying Modi.”