After 26 years, finally a Gandhi in Ayodhya

Faizabad, Sep 9 (IANS) After a gap of almost 26 years, a member of the Gandhi clan — Rahul Gandhi — visited Ayodhya.

As part of his ongoing ‘Kisan Mahayatra’, the Congress Vice-President visited the temple town on Friday and made a brief stopover at Hanumangarhi, a famous temple.

He was closeted with the priest of the temple for over five minutes after which he came out and drove off to the circuit house, where he started his road show.

Late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was scheduled to visit the temple in 1990 when he was on his ‘Sadbhavna Yatra’ to Ayodhya, but the programme was called off at the last moment as he had to fly back to Lucknow and it was getting dark.

Emerging out of the meeting, priest Mahant Gyan Das said Rahul had come like any other devotee.

When asked if there was any discussion on the contentious issue of the Ram temple, the priest answered in the negative.

Gandhi is slated to go to the Kichaucha Dargah Sharif at Ambedkarnagar in the evening and would meet the farmers in Faizabad at Ramlila grounds in Poorabazaar.

He will later spend some time with Dalits in a Dalit colony.

This has been very much his routine in the last three days of the 2,500-km-long Yatra which is to take him, in a special modelled, air conditioned bus, to more than 223 assembly constituencies in the state.

Uttar Pradesh is scheduled to elect a new government early next year.

Congress has 28 legislators in the present assembly and a recent survey has predicted that the party would slip further in numbers.

The party has hired election strategist Prashant Kishore to pep up the campaign and to secure a better outcome at the hustings.

–IANS

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