2 temples,1 dargah in 3 days of Siddaramaiah's itinerary

2 temples,1 dargah in 3 days of Siddaramaiah's itinerary

Bengaluru: Following in the footsteps of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has started visiting places of worship during his state tour, in what has been dubbed as 'soft Hindutva' to counter the BJP.

Siddaramaiah has visited a Mutt, a dargah and a temple on consecutive days since Sunday, which sources in the chief minister's office (CMO) pointed out were "unscheduled" visits outside his itinerary.

On Sunday, Siddaramaiah visited the Madiwaleshwar Swami Mutt in Garaga village, Dharwad, followed by a visit on Monday to the Hazrat Syed Suleman Badshah Baghdadi dargah in Lakshmeshwar, Gadag. Here, the chief minister took part in a 'tulabhara,' in which he weighed himself against a sack of sugar, later offered to the deity. On Tuesday, he visited the Durgadevi temple in Davangere city.

Siddaramaiah's 'temple run' comes days after Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G Parameshwara flagged off the party's election tour by visiting the Kurudumale Ganapathi temple and Hyder Ali dargah in Mulbagal, Kolar district.

"The chief minister's itinerary is planned around constituencies that he wants to cover, which is about 90 in 30 days. Constituencies are chosen based on development works to be inaugurated and political considerations. If a prominent temple or dargah falls in the headquarters of the constituency, any of those constituency headquarters and if people request, the chief minister goes there," a source in the CMO said. In the first leg of his tour, Siddaramaiah is slated to cover 18 districts and the rest in the second leg that starts January 3.

The party has already announced that Rahul will visit temples during his campaign in the state ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls. During his Gujarat campaign, Rahul apparently visited 27 temples and the Congress won 18 seats in those constituencies, among which the party managed to wrest 10 seats from the BJP. Tentatively, the Agnidurga Gopalakrishna temple in Dakshina Kannada, the Kollur Mookambika temple and Kukke Subramanya temple could make it to Rahul's itinerary, but party sources said details were yet to be finalised.

Of late, Siddaramaiah has positioned himself as a Hindu by saying his name contained the words Sidda (ready) and Rama. "BJP leaders aren't the only Hindus. We are also Hindus," he has said on many occasions.

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