Apparently encouraged by electoral dividends in three states, attributed to his temple runs there, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has decided to "light" and "renovate" ancient temples in his Lok Sabha constituency of Amethi.
According to the Congress leaders in Amethi, Rahul would be using his MPLAD funds to provide financial assistance to several ancient and famous temples in different parts of his parliamentary constituency.
Amethi district Congress chief Yogendra Mishra said that there were many temples in the district that are in poor condition and need renovation. "The money will be used to instal high-mast lighting at the temples," Mishra said.
The temples chosen for renovation include the Devipatan Temple in Amethi town, Kalikan Shakti Peeth in Sangrampur and Hinglaj Bhavani Dham in Musafirkhana.
Rahul had been hailed as a "Shiv bhakt" (disciple of Lord Shiva) when he had visited Amethi a few months ago after his paying obeisance at Kailash Mansarovar.
Scores of priests at the local Shiva temples had greeted the Congress president with chants of 'bam-bam bhole' (a slogan used by the devotees of Lord Shiva) during his meetings in Amethi.
Rahul has been pushing his 'soft hinutva' agenda in an apparent bid to blunt the BJP charge that Congress essentially was a "pro-Muslim party". He had visited several temples during his campaigning in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh Assembly polls.
The decision to light and renovate the temples comes in the wake of a renewed push by the BJP leaders, especially Union minister Smriti Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested against Rahul from Amethi in 2014, to woo the voters in the Nehru-Gandhi bastion.
Smriti has been active in Amethi since losing the polls and only recently had distributed sarees among the women there. BJP chief Amith Shah and other senior leaders of the party have also held rallies in the constituency.