Congress claims image of Rahul’s name in non-Hindu visitor book circulating on social media is a mischief by the BJP, releases copies of original entry
Accept it or not, election campaigns in India are always communally charged and a gaffe or mischief engineered by political rivals that raise questions on a prominent leader’s religious identity can often make or mar his party’s poll campaign.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and his party, on Wednesday, learned this the hard way as a photograph purportedly of the ‘non-Hindu’ visitor book at Gujarat’s iconic Somnath Temple went viral with names of “Rahul Ganhdi ji and Ahmed Patel ji” mentioned in it. The Congress vice president, who is currently campaigning in Gujarat for the upcoming Assembly elections, had visited the Somnath Temple on Wednesday morning along with a host of party leaders and mediapersons.
The image was promptly lapped up by the BJP, especially its IT cell chief Amit Malviya – the saffron party’s whizkid known for often circulating fake or misleading news and images – who was quick to point out that Rahul Gandhi was “not a Hindu” and had “finally come clean” on his religious identity.
Ambassador Meera Shankar, UPA’s representative in US, had referred to Sonia Gandhi as a Christian leader. The reference was soon deleted. Now Rahul Gandhi declares he is a non-Hindu but their election affidavits claim that they are Hindus. Gandhis lying about their faith? pic.twitter.com/iFE4AhVnRM— Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) November 29, 2017
Finally Rahul Gandhi comes clean on his religion, signs visitor register in Somnath (as per rule) meant for non-Hindus. If he isn’t a Hindu by faith, let alone a practicing one, then why has he been fooling people with these temple visits? pic.twitter.com/Igh5wxitkt— Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) November 29, 2017
Obviously sensing that the image, already receiving huge traction on social media and the typical abuse and vitriol directed towards Rahul Gandhi, could severely dent the party’s poll prospects in Gujarat, Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Deepender Hooda hurriedly convened a press conference in New Delhi. Surjewala and Hooda released “real” copies of the visitor book entry that Rahul Gandhi had made at the Somnath Temple while he claimed that the one being circulated on social media was not of an entry made by the Congress vice president.
Hooda pointed out that the image that has gone viral on social media has the name of Rahul Gandhi suffixed with a “ji” – a term of respect used for a person while referring to him in Hindi – and claimed that the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi would not have signed his name in this manner.
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: Deependra Hooda,Congress pic.twitter.com/CeRqJnlA6A— ANI (@ANI) November 29, 2017
While the clarification should have ideally put the controversy over Rahul’s faith to an end, that obviously did not happen. Congress-baiters and BJP sympathizers went on an overdrive to claim that Rahul “is not a Hindu” and that the entry in the Somnath Temple visitor book had “finally called his bluff”.
#RahulGandhi didn't apologize to Hindus for the Animosity shown by #Nehru towards Somnath Temple— Jagrati Shukla (@JagratiShukla29) November 29, 2017
He instead declared himself a non Hindu in #SomnathTemple Form. His name was found in the register for non-Hindu visitors.
Has he secretly Converted or is he ashamed of being Hindu? pic.twitter.com/4qCE8fzyFS