Rahul goes to Kedarnath but his "those who visit temples also tease women" remark will haunt him

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While the country debates who is actually responsible for Gajendra Singh's death, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi left for Kedarnath shrine where he paid respects to the victims of the 2013 floods in the region. [Rahul Gandhi treks to Kedarnath]

He said he had two motives to visit the shrine on foot. First, to pay respect to people who lost their lives in the 2013 landslides for he thought going to Kedarnath in a helicopter will show disrespect to them. He also thought that the local people are spending their days in a lot of difficulty and fear and he hence decided to walk to Kedarnath so that it will boost them psychologically.


The 44-year-old leader said he doesn't wish for anything when he goes to a temple and this time it was no different either.

But all this makes up a formal story. Rahul Gandhi, who has come after a 57-day sabbatical and has been found playing a pro-active role in politics, has certainly not decided to go on a feel-good trip to Kedarnath which could disrupt the momentum. The visit to Kedarnath might also have a political angle.

Rahul Gandhi's soft-majority politics

Has the Congress vice-president decided to play a soft-majority politics to change his party's fortunes in future polls? One should not forget that this trip has taken place just after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to present a chadar to the dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinduddin Chisti on his behalf.

Too much secularism has eventually become minority-appeasement?

Rahul Gandhi's visit has also taken place after senior guards in the Congress complained that the party, in a zest to show its secular side, actually ended up as one that appeases the minorities. So the vice-president, who is likely to take up as the chief of the party in the near future, has embarked on a mission of course correction.

Sonia Gandhi too had tried soft-Hindutva in Gujarat in 2002 elections but failed to defeat Modi

This is, however, not something the Congress's top leadership has done for the first time. In 2002, when Gujarat went to its first election after the terrifying pogroms, Sonia Gandhi had offered prayers in a Hindu temple before the polls. The approach of soft-Hindutva in a majority-dominated state, however, didn't pay off for the Congress.

Whether Rahul Gandhi can really penetrate Modi's strong majority vote-bank through this latest strategy of soft-Hindutva is for time to tell, but there is another question which has also started doing the rounds.

But the controversial statement made last year will hinder Rahul Gandhi's mission

In August last year, Rahul Gandhi had said in a party workers' meeting (see video below) that all those people who go to the temples and worship the goddesses and show high regards for women also tease them in public places. This remark led to a huge controversy and the Congress vice-president was slammed in various media for hurting the sentiments of the majority community.

Now, when Rahul Gandhi has made a trip to the Kedarnath, people have started digging up the past and are mocking the leader on similar lines. Will Rahul Gandhi be able to convince the voters he is targetting about his genuine involvement with the majority community's religious faith?

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