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Did the Congress benefit from Rahul Gandhi’s temple tourism? Here’s what the data shows

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Rahul visited more than 20 temples of many faiths, including the influential BAPS and Khodaldham, to Dalit icon Megh Mahya’s temple.

The phenomenon called soft Hindutva was one of the major themes of Rahul Gandhi’s Gujarat campaign. It was not as much an exercise to win loyal Hindu BJP vote as it was to erase Congress’ image of being a ‘pseudo-secular’ and ‘pro-Muslim’ party in Gujarat.

Rahul visited more than 20 temples of many faiths, including the influential BAPS and Khodaldham, to Dalit icon Megh Mahya’s temple.

Although it may not have been the deciding factor in the election outcomes, here is a look at how Congress fared in many of the areas where Rahul visited famous temples.

Somnath is the place where his alleged log entry into non-Hindu register at the famous temple was raised. Congress candidate at Somnath defeated sitting BJP MLA by margin of 20,450 votes. The Congress has got 4 seats and BJP 1 seat in Somnath district.

Rahul began his campaign by visiting the famous Dwarkadheesh temple at Dwarka. The Dwarka seat has been retained by sitting BJP MLA with almost same margin.

 

In his second round, Rahul’s went to Akshardham temple at Gandhinagar. The Congress has gained one of the 2 seats there. The BJP repeated its sitting MLAs at both Gandhinagar North and Gandhinagar South. It could retain Gandhinagar South but lost Gandhinagar North by around 5,000 votes.

Ambaji temple is the place where both Rahul Gandhi and PM Narendra Modi paid much publicised visits. It was also the final destination of Modi’s seaplane ride. Here, Congress’ sitting MLA has retained Danta seat that includes Ambaji area.

Rahul also made it a point to visit the temple of Megh Mahya, a Dalit icon, at Patan. The Congress won that seat from the BJP this time.

Urvish Kothari is a senior columnist and writer based at Ahmedabad.

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