Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits in Karnataka: Will his ‘soft Hindutva’ reap rewards?
Bengaluru: Like he did in Gujarat, Congress President Rahul Gandhi took time off to visit a host of temples in Karnataka as well. The temple visits by Rahul Gandhi led to the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, B S Yeddyurappa calling him an ‘election Hindu.’
The Congress in Karnataka understands the importance of the Muslim vote. The Muslim population is almost 18 per cent and can help a party swing its fortunes. Hence, Rahul Gandhi took a bit of a departure from his Gujarat strategy in Karnataka by visiting several Dargahs.
Rahul Gandhi started off with a soft hindutva approach in Karnataka but owing to the high Muslim population he decided to take a detour from the Gujarat strategy.
During his Mangalore visit, he came up with a strategy of visiting a Temple, Church and Mosque. He visited the Church of our Lady Rosary, Gokarnatheshwara temple and the Sayyid Muhammed Shareeful Madani Dargah.
His first visit to a dargah in Karnataka was at Raichur. Although it was described as an impromptu visit, there were scores of Congress workers waiting for him at the Shams-e-alam dargah in Raichur. He also did a Narendra Modi when he paused his address at Devadurga when he heard the Azan. He had received a huge applause when he resumed his speech.
The chief of the MIM was quick to take a dig at Rahul Gandhi and questioned why he had not visited a single Mosque in the state. Mandir jaana hatyar hai, Masjid jaana bimari hai, he said. Owaisi said that Rahul had visited 18 temples, but not a single Mosque. However Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress countered the same and said that Rahul visits dargahs.
However, the fact remains that in comparison to the number of temples that Rahul has visited the dargahs visited by him are very less. His temples visits began as early as February when he embarked on a Gujarat styled campaign. It began in Koppal in Karnataka when his first stop was at the Goddess Huligamma temple.
Rahul has campaigned in all regions of Karnataka. In the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, he has visited 5 temples and one dargah. In the Central Karnataka and Old Mysuru Region, he has visited two mutts, two temples and one dargah.
In the Mumbai-Karnataka region, he visited two temples, one church, one dargah and one mutt. In the Coastal Karnataka region, Rahul paid a visit to two temples, one dargah and a mutt.