Updated: November 29, 2017 9:12:44 pm
As Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi returned to the election campaign trail in Gujarat, his visit to the famous Gir Somnath temple on Wednesday hasn’t gone unnoticed.
A member of the Gandhi entourage allegedly entered his name in the temple’s “non-Hindu” visitors book. Speaking to The Indian Express, secretary of Shree Somnath Trust, Pravin Laheri, said: “We have a rule that all non-Hindus have to register their names. Somebody entered the names of Ahmed Patel and Rahul Gandhi in this register. The temple has nothing to do with it.”
Entry to the temple has been traditionally barred for non-Hindus. Visitors from a non-Hindu background need to obtain special permission from the temple authorities before entering it.
Meanwhile, the Congress party claimed that Rahul Gandhi never signed the register and alleged it is fake. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Deependra Singh Hooda said that Rahul Gandhi is an ardent “Shiv Bhakt” and believes in the “truth”. He blamed the BJP for diverting the attention from “real issues”.
Holding a copy of the visitors’ book, Hooda said: “Here is the original signature of Rahul Gandhi at Somnath Temple. Very clearly the other signature is written as ‘Rahul Gandhi ji’. Why would he write ji? Don’t know who wrote it. BJP doing what it does best, diverting from real issues.”
After Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Somnath, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at a rally, said: ““If there was no Sardar Patel, the temple in Somnath would never have been possible. Today some people are remembering Somanth, I have to ask them- have you forgotten your history? Your family members, our first PM was not happy with the idea of a temple being built there.”
Former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel also targetted the Congress vice-president. “Rahul went to Somanth temple today. Ask him or people from his party about how the conditions of the temple were when Congress was ruling. Thanks to Modijee Rahul has visited 21 temples in Gujarat,” she said.