Congress President Rahul Gandhi walked in the footsteps of his grandmother Indira Gandhi by visiting a temple in Sringeri as part of his election campaign for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections. The Congress chief visited the Sharadamba Temple in Sharada Peeth and met the members of the Sringeri mutt, a move mirroring what his grandmother Indira Gandhi did before the 1978 polls which revived her political career.
The former prime minister’s image had taken a heavy hit following the Emergency resulting in the loss of her parliamentary seat. The dwindling electoral fortunes of the Congress in the post-Emergency era changed with the 1978 Chikmagalur bypolls which put Indira Gandhi back in Parliament. Before winning the Chikmagalur elections, she had visited the Sharada Peeth to seek blessings of the sages. Two years later, she was successful in reviving the grand old party and serving as the prime minister for the second time.
The Congress at present is facing a similar existential crisis. The party has won only one state – Punjab – since the 2014 general elections where it faced its worst-ever defeat. Despite winning more number of seats in states like Goa and Meghalaya, it failed to cobble up alliances to form governments. A win in Karnataka is much needed to enthuse party workers for 2019.
Apart from visiting the Sharadamba Temple in the peeth and an interaction with Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Rahul also spend time with students of the Veda Pathashala. Following his visit to the temple, he will inaugurate the Block Congress Committee Office in Chikmagalur and address public meetings at Maidan and Alur Public Stadium in Hassan district. This will be his third visit to poll-bound Karnataka.