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Rahul Gandhi visits Ayodhya

Sat 10 Sep 2016, 11:23:35
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday visited Ayodhya, the first by a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family in the past 26 years. He paid obeisance at the famous Hanumangarhi temple, but avoided visiting the makeshift Ram temple, barely a kilometre away. Rahul’s father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had visited Ayodhya in 1990, though he had not visited the Hanumangarhi temple.
The Congress vice-president, who was currently on a ‘Kisan yatra’ in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, offered puja at the temple in accordance with vedic rituals and also held a closed-door meeting with its mahant (chief priest) and influential seer Gyan Das, who is known for his ‘anti-Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)’, stance.
Though the content of the discussion was not revealed, Gyan Das later told reporters that Rahul was a “good person” and a “patient listener”. “I blessed him to become prime minister and resolve the Ram temple-Babri Masjid issue,” the seer added.
Rahul’s visit to Ayodhya was being perceived by the political analysts here as an attempt to woo the upper caste brahmin community. The Congress has already declared former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit, a brahmin, as its chief ministerial nominee in the forthcoming UP Assembly elections, due early next year.
Brahmins, who constitute around 12% of the electorate in UP, play a crucial role in around 40 to 50 Assembly constituencies. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had also planned to pay obeisance at the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple during her recent roadshow in Varanasi, but her programme was cancelled at the eleventh hour owing to ill health.
Rahul also held a roadshow in Faizabad town, about 125 kilometres from here, after visiting the temple. During the roadshow, he shook hands with people and accepted their greetings. 

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