Continuing his high decibel campaign in poll-bound Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday had some history lessons for Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on the famous Somnath temple.
Taking an opportunity to hit out at the Gandhi scion over his temple visit, PM Modi, without taking any name said, "If Sardar Patel was not there, the temple in Somnath would never have been possible. Today some people are remembering Somanth, I have to ask them - have they forgotten their history? Our first PM was not happy with the idea of a temple being built there."
He said that when Dr Rajendra Prasad was to come to inaugurate the Somnath temple, Pandit Nehru expressed his displeasure.
"Sardar Patel dreamt about the Narmada but your family did not let that dream fulfil," he said.
A row erupted over Rahul`s visit to Somnath temple in Gujarat wherein his name was allegedly listed as a non-Hindu visitor in the visitor-book.
As the major controversy broke out, the BJP questioned Rahul's faith, while the Congress hit back accusing the BJP of playing dirty politics and maintained he was a "devout Hindu".
The controversy arose over Rahul Gandhi's media coordinator Manoj Tyagi signing the register meant for non-Hindus, which the Congress claimed was manipulated later by adding the names of Rahul Gandhi and Ahmed Patel.
Reports had said that the entry in the register was supposed to be made by non-Hindus visiting the temple in the Saurashtra area of Gujarat.
Congress issued a clarification on the register entry in question. Sharing an image of a register entry, made by the Gandhi scion himself, on Twitter, the Congress claimed that the one being circulated widely is “fabricated”.
A tweet by the Congress party said, “Clarification: There is only one visitor's book at Somnath Temple that was signed by Congress VP Rahul Gandhi. Any other image being circulated is fabricated. Desperate times call for desperate measures?”
Addressing a hurriedly-called press conference hours after the BJP sought to rake up a controversy over Rahul Gandhi`s name figuring in the register for non-Hindus, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the BJP was scared of the outcome of the Gujarat Assembly elections and was thus resorting to cheap politics.
"There is only one visitor`s book at Somnath Temple that was signed by Congress VP Rahul Gandhi. Any other image being circulated is fabricated," said Surjewala, adding "Desperate times call for desperate measures" - referring to the BJP.
Meanwhile, the BJP took no time to hit out at the Congress.
BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said in a tweet: "Rahul Gandhi is a non-Hindu and a 'Shiv Bhakht'? Very impressive. No wonder he said earlier people go to temples and tease women."
Quoting an article written in 1998 in New York Times, which said by certainty that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka were raised as Roman Catholics, Rao said: "This was never denied. Did Rahul Gandhi convert to Hinduism thereafter? @OfficeOfRG please clarify. It's not a personal issue any longer."
"Rahulji, Why is there so much secrecy and deceit about your and family's religion, foreign travels, educational qualifications, passports/citizenship? Questions are never answered. Even British monarchy is more transparent. Is RTI only for govts & not for politicians? @OfficeOfRG," he said in another tweet.
Congress releases 3 pics to show Rahul Gandhi is Hindu
The grand old party released three pictures which showed Rahul Gandhi performing 'puja' with his parents Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
In the second picture, the Gandhi scion is seen attending his elder sister Priyanka Gandhi's wedding ceremony, which was performed according to Hindu rituals.
The third picture released by the Congress shows Rahul Gandhi performing last rites as per Hindu customs.