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Feb 12, 2018 07:32 PM IST | Source: PTI

Rahul Gandhi defends temple run, says he will continue it    

Rahul Gandhi's temple run has invited the criticism from the BJP that it was an election exercise.

Facing the charge of practising "soft Hindutva", Congress president Rahul Gandhi today defended his visits to temples and religious places, asserting that he would continue it.

"I like going to temples, wherever I get religious  place I go there. I feel good and feel happy, and I will  continue (to go)," Gandhi told reporters here.

On a four-day election campaign in poll-bound Karnataka, Gandhi was responding to BJP state President B S Yeddyurappa's "Election Hindu" jibe at him.

"I heartily welcome #ElectionHindu @OfficeOfRG to  Ballari. The #Congress President will fulfill our dream of a  #CongressMuktKarnataka," Yeddyurappa had said in a tweet,  ahead of Gandhi's visit to the state from February 10.

Gandhi's temple run in his election itinerary which began in the run-up to the Gujarat assembly polls, has invited the criticism from the BJP that it was an election exercise.

Other critics have called it "soft Hindutva."

During his current tour to north Karnataka, Gandhi visited Goddess Huligamma temple, a famous shrine in the region, and Gavi Siddheshwara Mutt, a mutt of the majority Lingayat community.

He also visited a Dargah in Raichur today.

In his brief interaction with reporters, Gandhi asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yeddyurappa to inform people about the reasons why ministers during BJP rule in the state had to go to jail.

He said "Modiji comes here and speaks about  corruption. Yeddyurappa is someone who had gone to jail and  come."

"When Yeddyurappa and Modiji speak about corruption, they should inform people that during BJP rule four ministers had gone to jail, Yeddyurappa himself had gone to jail and 11  ministers had to resign. Let them explain about it," he said.

Gandhi again questioned the prime minister about the Rafale fighter jet deal, reiterating his charge that the contract was taken away from HAL and given to Modi's "friend".

"Why did you take away contract from HAL? Why did you take away jobs from youth of Karnataka? Why did you do this to give it to your friend? What was the logic behind it?," he asked.

Questioning whether the requisite permissions were  taken from the cabinet committee on security, Gandhi asked  what the aircraft's price was.

"Earlier Defence minister said she will share the price details to the country. After three to four months she is saying the matter is a state secret. Was it not state secret earlier?," he asked.

Attacking the Modi government for demonetisation and GST terming it as 'Gabbar Singh Tax", the congress leader said the measures have "shut" all businesses in the country.

He asked Modi to speak about how BJP president Amit Shah's son Jay Shah made Rs 80 crore out of Rs 50,000 in three months.

Amit Shah has rejected the charge of corruption.

His son has filed a criminal defamation suit against the news portal which claimed his business fortunes had zoomed after BJP came to power in 2014.
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