Shringeri, Mar 21, 2018: Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to poll-bound Karnataka, on Wednesday visited Shringeri Sharadamba Temple in Chikmagalur along with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Wearing Panche and wrapped in Shalya, Rahul Gandhi visited the temple along with some senior leaders of the Congress party.
The Gandhi scion is also slated to meet Jagadguru Shankaracharya of the Shringeri Math and later interact with the students of Veda Pathashala in Chikmagalur. He will also address two public meetings in the area.
Notably, Chikmagalur is the place from where Rahul’s grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi had scripted her political comeback.
On Tuesday, the Congress president visited Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts to participate in ’Janashirvada Yatre’. He visited a temple, a church and a dargah during his visit.
He had visited Karnataka for the first time after becoming the party chief in December 2017. He later, in the first leg of his campaign, visited Koppal, Ballari, Raichur, Yadigir, Kalaburgi and Bidar districts. In the second leg of the campaign, he visited Belagavi, Vijayapura, Bagalkot and Dharwad districts.
Rahul’s visit to the state comes shortly after Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in the state recognised Lingayat community as a religion. The state Cabinet meeting okayed the religion based on the suggestions of Nagamohan Das committee and has approached the Centre for the same.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had hit out at the state government over the development saying the “Congress is playing with fire”. There were also reports of clashes breaking out between Lingayat and Veerashaiva followers in Kalaburgi after members of the former faith came out to celebrate cabinet’s decision.
BJP general secretary in-charge of Karnataka P Muralidhar Rao had accused the ruling Congress of practicing a "divide and rule" policy.
"Congress carrying ’Divide and Rule’ legacy of Britishers in India. Siddaramaiah is playing with fire for vote bank politics. Why has Congress done this before elections? Why haven’t they done it four years back?" he had said in a tweet.
The Karnataka government’s decision is also being viewed by the saffron party as an attempt by the Congress to divide Lingayat voters, who have strongly backed Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa in the past polls.