Twitter erupts with reports of Rahul Gandhi declaring himself non-Hindu at Somnath temple

Rahul Gandhi is playing the so-called ‘soft Hindutva’ card these days ahead of Gujarat assembly elections by visiting various temples and offering prayers there. It is being seen as an attempt to appeal to the Hindu voters not yet divided on caste-lines, who are supposed to vote for the BJP.

However, if the attempt was to win Hindu votes and appeal to Hindu sentiments, the step appeared to be backfiring after there were reports that the Congress Vice President signed on a register meant for non-Hindu visitors while paying a visit to famous Somnath temple at Rajkot in Gujarat.

Around two years back in June 2015, it was reported that non-Hindu visitors would need to take permission from the office of general manager of Shree Somnath Trust before entering the Somnath Temple for darshan. It had been made mandatory to all non-Hindu pilgrims.

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Today, there were multiple reports attributed to various local media organisations that suggested that Rahul Gandhi had signed on a register meant for non-Hindu visitors at the Somnatth temple. Incidentally, the renovation of the temple was opposed by Jawaharlal Nehru, the great grandfather of Rahul Gandhi.

Signature of local Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is considered very close to Sonia Gandhi, was also seen on the register, photos of which were shared on Twitter by many media organisations and journalists:

This was immediately taken up by BJP, with the party’s IT cell head Amit Malviya and Delhi unit spokesperson Tajinder Singh Bagga raising the issue over transparency of Rahul Gandhi’s religion:

The issue was also raised by various Twitter users who were amused by this act of Rahul Gandhi:

It’s not yet clear if Rahul Gandhi himself signed on the register or it was done by someone on his behalf. It is also not clear it is a goof-up or a genuine declaration of faith by Rahul Gandhi. Or whether there are another technicalities involved that might have led Rahul Gandhi’s name being included in that register reportedly meant for non-Hindu visitors.

Congress had not released any official statement on this development at the time of publishing this report.

UPDATE 1: As per the local news website DeshGujarat, Somnath temple trust has confirmed that the register was meant for non-Hindu visitors, and it was the media coordinator of Rahul Gandhi, Manoj Tyagi, who put the names of Ahmed Patel and Rahul Gandhi on the register. The statement has been attributed to the PRO of Somnath temple trust. Congress still has not reacted if it was wrong on the part of Tyagi to have added Rahul Gandhi’s name along with Ahmed Patel’s in the register.

UPDATE 2: Congress has reacted on the whole episode. This report contains details about their response.

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