By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani / Ahmedabad
Emboldened by Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s visits to numerous temples during Gujarat polls and restricting the ruling BJP to under-100 seats, the grand old ‘secular’ party has now decided to play more proactive role as savior of Hindutva in the state.
After his whirlwind temple-visits, declaring himself a Shiv-bhakht and Janeudhari, Rahul Gandhi has made his intentions clear that he could go to any extent to snatch away traditional Hindu votes from BJP.
The party is not only extending its overture towards Praveen Togadia’s VHP, but also made plan to attract common Hindus in state by distributing pious Puja Kits.
The state unit of the party has decided to revive all local Ram temples by forming “Sriram Suryodhay-Sandhye Aarti Committees” in 148 villages across Saurashtra.
Mooted by Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani, the party will distribute Puja items to volunteers who agree to perform Aartis 14 times a week, in temples that have been neglected or not much frequented by devotees.
“A kit of “Shankh, Jhalar and Nagadas (conch shells, decorations and drums) will be given to temples which the committees will revive in “spirit and tradition,” said Dhanani.
“There is a Ramji Chauraha in all villages but how many of us even go to temples. If there is increased engagement among villages at a peaceful place like a temple, there will be less of unrest and depression among villagers.” Said Dhanani adding that the party has already sourced the Shankh from Somnath, drums from Jasdan near Rajkot and decorations from Bhavnagar and they will soon be given to the new committees. The proposal will soon be cleared by Dhamani who says he has also discussed it with Rahul Gandhi.
The party sources say this is a well-calculated move to counter the BJP’s projection of the Congress as anti-Hindu before 2019 elections.
Has the grand old party drifted away from so called secularism and adopted hard Hindutva at least in Gujarat?, a senior party functionary in Delhi said “this is a well-calculated move to counter the BJP’s projection of the Congress as anti-Hindu before 2019 elections”.
The Congress’s occasional dalliance with the RSS has been known. Indira Gandhi’s temple visits and Rajiv Gandhi’s courting of soft-Hindutva for votes and its terrible consequences are well known. But never has the Congress dared to have truck with any bigot or Muslim baiter like Togadia or has even given the impression that it’s ready to do politics with such elements. It has to be seen how Congress new strategy prove fruitful to the party.
Story is edited by Andalib Akhter