Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has hit back at the BJP saying that he did not need any certificate on his religious belief from anyone. In an interaction, which was recorded by a mobile phone, Rahul is seen saying how his family members were shiv bhakts.
Rahul says to audience’s applause, “My grandmother (late Indira Gandhi) and my family are Shiv Bhakts (devotees of Lord Shiva). Things that are normally kept private, we don’;t talk about it. Because we feel that this is our private matter. We don’t need any certificate from anyone. We do not want to commercialise this thing. We don’t want to do ‘dalali’ (wheeling-dealing) over it. We do not want to use it for political purposes either.”
The BJP had recently attacked the Congress vice president questioning his Hindu faith. This was after a register meant for non-Hindu visitors at Gujarat’s Somnath temple recently. However, as it emerged, the entry was never made by Rahul. Congress leaders were quick to produce the evidence establishing that the image of the temple register circulated by BJP leaders was fake.
The party also released old photos of Rahul performing religious rituals according to Hindi faith including when he performed the last rites of his late prime minister father, Rajiv Gandhi.
The BJP is being accused of dumping the development agenda and taken refuge behind Hindutva agenda by frequently bringing the issue of Rahul’s faith. Once written off by political pundits, the turnaround in Congress’s electoral fortune has been remarkable. Analysts say that the BJP’s feeling jittery for the first time in 22 years.
Gujarat goes to polls in two stages on 9 and 14 December.