Rahul listed as 'non-Hindu' in Somnath temple register

Rahul listed as 'non-Hindu' in Somnath temple register

Rahul listed as 'non-Hindu' in Somnath temple register

Rahul Gandhi's media coordinator on Wednesday enlisted the Congress vice president as a 'non-Hindu' in the Somnath temple's register.

Ahead of his two-day campaign in the Saurashtra region,  Rahul had visited the temple along with his media coordinator Manoj Tyagi and Congress  leader Ahmed Patel. Tyagi had reportedly signed in Rahul's name in the register for non-Hindus,  who need to seek permission to enter  the temple.

The BJP tried to make an issue of this gaffe,  saying that for years it was always projected that Rahul was a Hindu, while in fact he was not.  The incident  also appealed to the BJP as Rahul has been temple-hopping across the state over the past couple of months while on his  campaign trail. He has visited over 20 temples since October.

"The Congress has been lying. The entry shows that he is not a Hindu," BJP leader Raju Dhruv said.

Located along  the Saurashtra coast of the Arabian Sea, the Somnath temple is considered sacred by the Hindus, and enshrines the first of 12 'jyoritlings' of Lord Shiva.

The institution managing the temple, Shree Somnath Trust, had issued a notice in June 2015, making it mandatory for non-Hindus to seek permission of the trust before entering the main temple.

Former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel is the chairman of the trust, while Prime Minister  Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah and retired chief secretary of Gujarat P K Laheri are the  trustees.  

Tyagi later issued a statement that he had merely entered his name in the register and not that of Rahul or Ahmed.

However, Modi was not sparing in his words while hitting out at Rahul over  his visit to  the  temple.

Speaking at a rally at Prachi, a town barely 30 km from Somnath, the prime minister said it was Rahul's "great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru who wrote to the then President Rajendra Prasad not to attend the function to commemorate the rebuilding of the Somnath temple led by Sardar Patel… This is the land of the brave and the land of Somnath never forgives those who are against the shrine".