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Rahul visits temple in Ayodhya; first Gandhi scion to do so in 26 years

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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday visited Hanumangarhi temple in Ayodhya. He, thus, became the first from Nehru-Gandhi family to visit Ayodhya since 1992, when Babri mosque was demolished.

The Congress vice president drove straight to the famous Hanuman Garhi temple, where he offered prayers, before meeting the mahant. He then drove straight out of town to twin city Faizabad, where he hold a roadshow.

At one point, Gandhi asked the locals and party workers to give space to an ambulance carrying a patient that got caught up in the crowd of cheering supporters.

Friday was the fourth day of his 2,500-km ‘Kisan Yatra’ that began at Deoria.

As a convoy of cars, buses and open trucks rolled into the temple town, people rushed out of their houses to have a glimpse of the Congress leader.
Much significance is being attached in political circles to Mr. Rahul’s visit to Hanuman Garhi, which is about a kilometre away from the Ram temple at the disputed Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

Mr. Gandhi also stayed away from the site of ‘shilanyas’, the foundation stone that was laid there in 1989 for the construction of a Ram temple.

Political observers see a soft Hindutva agenda in the Ayodhya visit at a time when Congress appears to follow a Brahmin-centric campaign in Uttar Pradesh prescribed by election strategist Prashant Kishor, who is designing every move of the Congress scion.

Kishor is of the view that Congress must win its original constituencies of Muslims, Brahmins and a section of the non-Dalit Other Backward Castes (OBCs) as it makes a serious attempt at an impact in UP, which it had last won 27 years ago.

The Congress vice president Rahul on Thursday said if his party forms government in UP it will representation from all section of society in the state.

“Though Sheila Dikshit is the chief ministerial candidate of the party in the state, I can assure you that when Congress party distributes tickets for the Assembly polls, people from all religion and castes will find a place”, Rahul said in a “khaat sabha” in Gonda on the third day of his ‘Deoria to Dilli’ yatra.

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