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Last Updated : May 03, 2019 08:33 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

In Pics | Tracing Congress' 'soft Hindutva' push and Rahul Gandhi's temple run

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has, in the last couple of years, earned the ire of the BJP for frequenting temples ahead of elections

Aakriti Handa @aakriti_handa
Rahul Gandhi was made the president of the Congress party just ahead of the Gujarat Assembly in December 2017. With chief Gandhi facing his first challenge, he kicked off his campaign (and many controversies) by visiting the famous Somnath Temple in Gujarat. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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Rahul Gandhi was named Congress president just ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections in December 2017. As Rahul faced his first challenge, he kicked off his campaign (and many controversies) with a visit to the famous Somnath Temple in Gujarat. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

Soon, Rahul Gandhi frequented several temples during his campaign trail in Gujarat, ahead of the assembly polls in the state, compelling the media to question this move as appeasement of the Hindu majority vote. This is the Rancchodji Temple in Kheda. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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Soon, Rahul Gandhi frequented several temples during his campaign trail in Gujarat, ahead of the assembly polls in the state, compelling the media to question this move as appeasement of the Hindu majority vote. This is at the Rancchodji Temple, Kheda in 2017. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

Soon, Rahul came under sharp criticism from the BJP, which is a staunch proponent of Hindutva and felt seemingly insecure by the Congress taking a leaf from their book of politics. It was at this time that political pundits questioned the Congress for deviating from their 'secular' ideals. This is Ambaji Temple in Banaskantha, Gujarat. (Image: Twitter/ @INCIndia)
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Soon, Rahul faced sharp criticism from the BJP, which is a staunch proponent of Hindutva, and felt seemingly insecure by the Congress taking a leaf out of their book of politics. It was at this time that political pundits questioned the Congress for deviating from their 'secular' ideals. This is at Ambaji Temple in Banaskantha, Gujarat in 2017. (Image: Twitter/ @INCIndia)

Although the Congress lost to the BJP in Gujarat, they surprised many by getting 77 seats, only 22 less than the saffron party in their bastion state. Terming Gujarat Assembly polls as a 'moral victory', Rahul continued visiting temples, bracing for the next big polls – Karnataka Assembly in May 2018. This is a snap from his visit to the Sharana Basaveshwara Temple in Kalburgi, Karnataka in February 2018. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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Although the Congress lost to the BJP in Gujarat, they surprised many by getting 77 seats, only 22 less than the saffron party in their bastion state. Terming Gujarat assembly polls as a 'moral victory', Rahul continued visiting temples, bracing for the next big polls – Karnataka in May 2018. This is a snap from his visit to the Sharana Basaveshwara Temple in Kalburgi, Karnataka in February 2018. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

During this time, Rahul's faith was often questioned by the ruling BJP, who took jibes at him, calling him a "janeyudhaari". Rahul was quick to wear the label of a "shiv-bhakt", for which also he was castigated. Seen here is Rahul Gandhi and the then chief minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah at the Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Temple in Dakshin Kannada in April 2018. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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During this time, Rahul's faith was often questioned by the ruling BJP, who took jibes at him, calling him a "janeyudhaari". Rahul was quick to wear the label of a "shiv-bhakt", and he was castigated for that too. Seen here are Rahul Gandhi and then Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah at Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Temple in Dakshin Kannada in April 2018. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

This was the time when the Indian media coined the term 'soft Hindutva', associating it with the Congress. Yet, Rahul kept visiting temples on his campaign trail in Karnataka. Here, he is seen at the Kurudumale Ganapathi Temple in Kolar, Karnataka ahead of assembly polls in the state. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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This was the time when Indian media coined the term 'soft Hindutva', associating it with the Congress. Yet, Rahul kept visiting temples on his campaign trail in Karnataka. Here, he is seen at the Kurudumale Ganapathi Temple in Kolar, Karnataka in April 2018 ahead of assembly polls in the state. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

Even though, Rahul puts up quite a few pictures of his temple visits around the year, those ahead of the elections get more eyeballs. The next big political event was the Assembly Polls in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan in November 2018. Here Rahul is seen Mahakaleshwar temple in Madhya Pradesh ahead of the assembly elections in the state. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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Although Rahul puts up quite a few pictures of his temple visits around the year, those ahead of the elections grab more eyeballs. The next big political event was the assembly polls in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan in November 2018. Here, Rahul is seen at Mahakaleshwar temple in Madhya Pradesh in October 2018. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

The Congress party and its chief was under constant attack for their 'soft-Hindutva' push, which was being read as a move to consolidate the Hindu masses in the Hindi heartland states. This is a photograph from Brahma temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan ahead of the assembly elections in the state in November 2018. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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The Congress party and its chief were under constant attack for their 'soft-Hindutva' push, which was being read as a move to consolidate the Hindu masses in the Hindi heartland states. This is a photo from Brahma temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan ahead of the assembly elections in the state in November 2018. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

With the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls this year, Rahul's religious visits came under the scanner once again. Here, he is seen worshipping at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, one of the most prominent Sikh shrines. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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With the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls this year, Rahul's religious visits came under the scanner once again. Here, he is seen worshipping at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, one of the most prominent Sikh shrines, in April. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

This year, Rahul's sister Priyanka Gandhi also took the political plunge and was appointed as the party general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East). This is a photograph from her visit to the popular Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. (Image: PTI)
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This year, Rahul's sister Priyanka Gandhi also took the political plunge and was appointed as the party general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East). This is a photo from her April visit to the popular Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. (Image: PTI)

During his campaign trail in Rajasthan, which the Congress wrested from the BJP in the 2018 Assembly polls, Rahul Gandhi is seen visiting the Beneshwar Mahadev Temple, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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During his campaign trail in Rajasthan, which the Congress wrested from the BJP in the 2018 assembly polls, Rahul Gandhi had visited the Beneshwar Mahadev Temple in April. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

This time, Rahul decided to contest from two seats – his citadel, Amethi and Wayanad in Kerala. Before campaigning in the constituency, he visited the Thirunelli temple and offered prayers. In his tweet, Rahul mentioned that the place had a special connect with him as his father, Rajiv Gandhi's ashes were immersed in the river that flows through it. (Image: Twitter/ @RahulGandhi)
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This time, Rahul decided to contest from two seats — his citadel, Amethi, and Wayanad in Kerala. Before filing his nomination in April, he visited the Thirunelli temple and offered prayers. In his tweet, Rahul mentioned that the place had a special connection with him as his father, Rajiv Gandhi's ashes were immersed in the river that flows through it. (Image: Twitter/ @RahulGandhi)

Seen here are Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and UP(East) Gen Secy Priyanka Gandhi offering prayers during a 'hawan' before Sonia files her nomination papers from Congress citadel Rae Bareli. Sonia has won from the seat four consecutive times. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)
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Seen here are Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and UP (East) Gen Secy Priyanka Gandhi offering prayers during a 'hawan' before Sonia filed her nomination papers from Congress citadel Rae Bareli on April 11. Sonia has won from the seat four times in a row. (Image: Twitter/@INCIndia)

First Published on May 3, 2019 08:33 pm
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