When Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi begins the fifth day of his ongoing ‘Kisan Yatra’ across Uttar Pradesh on Friday by offering prayers at Hanuman Garhi temple in Ayodhya, he is set to be the first member of his family to visit the temple town since the Babri Masjid’s demolition in 1992.
During his ‘Sadbhavna Yatra’ in 1990, Rajiv Gandhi was scheduled to visit Hanuman Garhi, which lies just over a kilometre from the disputed site, but could not manage it in the middle of his tight schedule, although he had gone to Ayodhya, a Congress leader said. Rahul, thus, plans to start from where his father left Ayodhya 26 years ago, the party leader said.
In order to play the balancing act, however, the Amethi MP will end his day by visiting Kichaucha Sharif Dargah in neighbouring Ambedkar Nagar district the same day.
Although Congress president Sonia Gandhi had visited Faizabad several times during past elections, a party leader said neither she nor any other member of the family visited Ayodhya since the mosque was brought down in 1992. Before Rajiv Gandhi in 1990, Indira Gandhi had visited Ayodhya once in the 1960s to apparently unveil a development project along the Saryu river.
Rahul is also scheduled to hold a roadshow across Faizabad city on Friday before leaving for Ambedkar Nagar. As per schedule, he will be in Azamgarh, which is represented by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in Lok Sabha, on Saturday.