Of Modi’s temple visits in Nepal and Karnataka polls

Muktinath, Nepal: Prime Minister Narendra Modi offers prayers at Muktinath Temple in Muktinath on Saturday. (PTI Photo / PIB) (PTI5_12_2018_000061b)

 The Congress on Saturday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to “influence” voters in Karnataka on the polling day through his temple visits in Nepal.

On Monday, Modi prayed at Nepal’s iconic Muktinath temple that is regarded sacred by both the Hindus and the Buddhists, becoming the first world leader to offer prayers there.

He also offered prayers at the Pashupatinath temple, located on the banks of the Bagmati river. The Pashupatinath temple is regarded as the most sacred and oldest temple of Shiva (Pashupati) in Nepal.

Senior Congress leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot alleged that the prime minister had timed his visit to the Himalayan nation on the Karnataka poll date, and was “giving a message to Hindus” in the southern state.

Alleging violation of the model code of conduct, he said Modi’s temple visits in Nepal were being aired on the day of polling in Karnataka.

“This is not a good tradition in a democracy. In Gujarat also, he held a roadshow after voting. Today, he has adopted a new path. When Karnataka is polling today, he has gone to Nepal and is worshipping in temples there, as he could not do so in the southern state due to elections,” Gehlot said.

The AICC general secretary said Modi, through his temple visits, was giving out a message to voters in Karnataka of how religious he was and that he was a Hindu.

‘Planned in advance’

Modi’s visit to Nepal was decided soon after K P Sharma Oli’s election as prime minister, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, amid speculation over its timing which coincides with the Karnataka Assembly elections.

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Of Modi’s temple visits in Nepal and Karnataka polls

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