Rahul Gandhi a non-Hindu? Somnath Temple secretary tells Firstpost Congress VP signed Visitor's Book, nothing else

While GST, demonetisation, quota for the Patidar community, anti-Dalit incidents and similar issues have found prominence in the discourse around the 2017 Gujarat Assembly election, the latest issue to enter the fray is religion.

In what the Congress claimed a fabricated image, and the BJP alleged a conspiracy, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's visit to the Somnath temple snowballed into a controversy after several Gujarati news channels reported that Rahul's name appeared in the non-Hindu register of the temple. All non-hindus have to declare their identity at the temple.

The temple trust's secretary PK Laheri exclusively told Firstpost reporter Darshan Desai that Rahul only put his signature in the Visitor's Book of the temple and nowhere else. "Rahul only wrote: This is an inspiring place' and he did so in the presence of our general manager Vijaysinh Chawda. "This is the only place he signed after he entered the temple," he added. As for entry as a non-Hindu, Laheri clarified,"The separate register has been maintained for the last three years for security purposes."

Laheri told Firstpost that Rahul did not sign the "other register."

"...maybe his media coordinator did. But I am not sure. There was nobody there. This non-Hindu register generally remains with the security guard."

Image procured by Darshan Desai/Firstpost

Image procured by Darshan Desai/Firstpost

According to this report in India Today, an image of the register where both Rahul and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel signed as 'non-Hindus' went viral on social media. The image was shared on Twitter by one Vikas Pandey who goes by the handle @vikasspandey.

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The image was deleted by the user when Firstpost tried to verify its veracity.

The Congress' issued a clarification soon after the news broke on social media and said that at the Somnath Temple there is only one visitor book and any other image that has been circulated is fake.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also called for a media briefing and said, "Rahul ji made an entry into the visitor's book. The signature of which is being talked of is different, neither it is the signature of Rahul Gandhi nor was this register ever given to him."

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Congress sources in Gujarat, however, have told Firstpost that the local media coordinator of the party, Manoj Tyagi, in Gujarat signed both Rahul and Patel's name in the non-Hindu register "by mistake". Sources said that the person who filled the register was not aware of the rules here hence wrote Rahul's name in that register. The BJP did not miss the opportunity to slam the party with two different versions of the incident coming from the Congress. Senior journalist Brajesh K Singh tweeted this at least three hours ago:

The Congress workers have called the incident a conspiracy by the BJP as one of the secretaries of the temple trust is BJP president Amit Shah. The BJP, meanwhile, launched a scathing attack on the Congress vice-president demanding to know which religion he followed.

BJP's IT cell chief Amit Malviya was quick to cash in on this as he tweeted:

With inputs from Darshan Desai
Click here for detailed coverage of Gujarat Assembly Election 2017


Published Date: Nov 29, 2017 08:08 pm | Updated Date: Nov 30, 2017 01:33 pm



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