Gandhinagar, Dec 2: In Gujarat it is "development" versus "religion", this election season.
Since the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is fighting polls on the development plank officially, but unofficially the saffron party has never failed to raise its 'favourite' topics--religion and caste--during its campaigns.
However, in the run-up to the Gujarat Assembly elections--scheduled on December 9 and 14--the BJP has accused the Congress of indulging in communal politics. The election results will be declared on December 18.
The debate over religion taking the centre stage during the Gujarat Assembly elections started after the BJP objected to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visiting temples as a part of his campaign trail. According to an estimate, since September, Rahul has visited at least 15 temples in poll-bound Gujarat.
Rahul's attempt to woo Hindu voters by visiting and praying in popular Hindu temples across the state has irked the BJP. Some of the top leaders of the BJP, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivaraj Singh Chouhan, have attacked Rahul for visiting temples in Gujarat.
Now, Union minister Smriti Irani has trained her guns on Rahul for allegedly fighting elections in Gujarat on the issue of religion.
Talking to reporters, Irani questioned the Congress VP's silence on the killing of cows in Kerala by the party workers.
"Why didn't the Hindu inside Rahul say anything when youth Congress workers killed cows in Kerala? So I request that he should fight elections in Gujarat on the issue of development," Irani was quoted as saying by ANI.
Why didn't the Hindu inside Rahul Gandhi say anything when Youth Congress workers killed cows in Kerala? So I request that he should fight elections in #Gujarat on the issue of development: Union Minister Smriti Irani pic.twitter.com/pLpzjMPjAG— ANI (@ANI) December 1, 2017
The attack on Rahul's 'actual' religion took an ugly turn on Wednesday when reports suggested that the scion of the Gandhi family on his visit to the Somnath temple in Gujarat registered himself as a non- Hindu in the temple's logbook.
While the Congress called Rahul's signature fake in the temple register and a conspiracy by the BJP to malign the party VP's reputation, the BJP demanded an answer from the opposition party to clarify Rahul's actual religion.
"There is only one visitor's book at Somnath temple that was signed by Rahul. Any other image being circulated is fabricated," the party said on Twitter.