‘Spiritual journey’: Rahul visits Kedarnath ahead of state polls

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NEW DELHI: It was only a coincidence that a day after PM Narendra Modi attacked Congress over “Mahadev” in reference to the controversial betting app in Chhattisgarh, Rahul Gandhi landed in Kedarnath to the cheers of “Har Har Mahadev”, for a pilgrimage that can help the party’s messaging in the thick of the campaign for five assembly elections.
Sources said the party contacted the former Uttarakhand Congress chief Ganesh Godiyal five days ago and conveyed the plan, which was later disseminated to other aides and arrangements made for the Gandhi scion.
Rahul has been to revered religious shrines in the past like Kedarnath, Kheerbhavani, Kailash Mansarovar, but the trip to the hill temple in Uttarakhand appears planned on the lines of his two-day stay at the Golden Temple in October. During the three days at Kedarnath, Rahul will hold a “feast” for the devotees, besides other activities in the temple, like he did “seva” at the Amritsar gurdwara.
Though the Gandhi scion calls these visits part of his “spiritual journey”, scrupulously keeping the party workers and politics away, they obviously end up being seen from the political prism. The Golden Temple stay elicited widespread commentary that it was Congress’ outreach to the Sikh community in view of its turbulent history. Now, the dash to Kedarnath comes bang in the middle of the high-stakes battle for five states. More so, in the final lap of the campaign, BJP has begun pushing its polarising agenda, with mention of some incidents in states, and also Ayodhya, to divert public gaze from Congress’s focus on its record in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, and from its laser sharp scrutiny of incumbents’ record in MP and Telangana. Also, PM Narendra Modi has been meeting religious seers on the campaign trail.
Rahul’s sudden trip appears an attempt to reinforce his Hindu image, in a bid to neutralise any negative fallout of the BJP’s campaign.
Sources said the party contacted the former Uttarakhand Congress chief Ganesh Godiyal five days ago and conveyed the plan, which was later disseminated to other aides and arrangements made for the Gandhi scion.



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