10 temples in 68 constituencies: How Rahul Gandhi’s ‘temple run’ helped Congress beat BJP in 3 states

New Delhi: In the aftermath of great election losses for BJP, one of the factors that stand highlighted is Rahul Gandhi and Amit Shah’s visit to a flurry of temples during election campaign in the then poll-bound states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

As per Dainik Bhaskar’s analysis, it came to light that Gandhi and Shah visited 10 temples each during their extended campaigns for the said states. It is believed that these temples have a direct impact on a total of 124 seats – out of which Congress won 35 seats, while the BJP settled for 20.

Rahul excelled ‘mandir’ politics

  • It has been widely believed that the BJP has been using Hindutva as a distraction to divert people’s attention from variety of issues ranging from farm distress to unemployment.
  • However, Rahul Gandhi seems to have punctured saffron’s party forte of Hindu pride by shredding its much-touted secular image. In the last two years, Gandhi made numerous visits to temples, which was then brought into centre stage during the recently concluded assembly elections in states of Hindi heartland.
  • The Congress chief visited five temples in Madhya Pradesh to cover 28 seats – out of which the grand old party secured 13 seats.
  • Similarly, in Rajasthan, Gandhi visited three temples which are also said to impact 28 seats. His party came out victorious in 12 of those seats.
  • In Chhattisgarh, the Congress supremo went to two temples – which determine results of 12 seats in total. Congress has come out on top in 10 of these seats.

‘Gotra’ and caste politics sidelined

  • In the campaigns for the recent polls, issue of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘gotra’ was highlighted a lot as BJP leaders took potshots at his claim of being a Hindu. It all started when, during his campaign, Rahul Gandhi went to pray at the famous Pushkar temple in Rajasthan. The priest at the temple claimed that Rahul Gandhi’s gotra is Dattatreya – a sect of Kauls who are Kashmiri Brahmins. However, Congress didn’t succeed in the Pushkar seat. The district of Ajmer – where Pushkar is located – facilitated wins for BJP at five seats, while Congress only secured two seats there.
  • Moreover, the Hindu deity Hanuman’s caste was also brought into the mix. Yogi Adityanath had claimed in Alwar that the mythological figure was a Dalit. It didn’t work for BJP as the saffron party emerged victorious in only two out of 11 seats there.