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  India   All India  18 Apr 2019  Rahul targets PM, Sangh; says Kerala a role model

Rahul targets PM, Sangh; says Kerala a role model

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Apr 18, 2019, 1:15 am IST
Updated : Apr 18, 2019, 6:13 am IST

Known as “Kashi of the South”, the Thirunelli temple, in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains and thick forest, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi offers prayers at Thirunelli temple in Wayanad district on Wednesday.  	(Photo: PTI)
 Congress chief Rahul Gandhi offers prayers at Thirunelli temple in Wayanad district on Wednesday. (Photo: PTI)

Wayanad (Kerala): Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday did the “bali tharpanam” ritual for his late father Rajiv Gandhi, his grandmother Indira Gandhi and other ancestors on the banks of the Papanasini here, nearly three decades after Rajiv Gandhi’s ashes were immersed in the sacred stream.

Mr Gandhi, on a whirlwind two-day Kerala tour as part of his Lok Sabha poll campaign, took time off his hectic schedule to offer prayers at Thirunelli temple and performed the sacred ritual to pay obeisance to the ancestors of seven generations.

 

Known as “Kashi of the South”, the Thirunelli temple, in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains and thick forest, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Later, addressing a huge gathering at the St. Mary’s College grounds, hailed Wayanad as a model for the rest of India because of its traditions of culture and communal amity, and rebutted the BJP’s propaganda about his choice of constituency. He said: “I will send a message to the rest of the country that there is a place called Wayanad in the South where people work together to resolve their problems peacefully.”

Throughout his speech, Rahul touched an emotional chord with people, saying he had come to meet them “not as a politician but as a brother, son and friend”.

 

Rahul Gandhi said that he has been fighting against the ideologies of Narendra Modi and RSS for the last five years. “And the thinking behind their ideology is that one perspective, one person and one idea should rule this country,” he said, adding that he had realised after extensive travel across India that there were multiple voices, ideas and languages. “I don’t believe in imposing solutions, but I believe in the wisdom and intellect of people who can suggest solutions.”

Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the RSS, Mr Gandhi said Kerala’s issues should be decided by the state’s people, and not by Mr Modi or the RSS chief. Saying the BJP was only interested in imposing its ideology, Mr Gandhi said: “Who is Mohan Bhagwat to teach us about culture and history? Kerala should be run by the people of Kerala. This is the same sentiment in state after state.”

 

He added: “There is a conflict between development and environment... I want to see a solution. I don’t believe in imposing solutions. I believe in the wisdom of our people in resolving such issues... I am not like the Prime Minister. I am not going to make false promises and tell you I will give you two crore jobs or `15 lakh in your bank accounts or that I will give farmers whatever they want. I am not going to lie to you. Because I respect your intelligence... (and) your wisdom.”

Mr Gandhi, who is contesting the polls from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, besides Amethi, arrived at the forest temple in a helicopter, accompanied by his party leaders, on Wednesday morning. Wearing a traditional dhoti and draping a “kasavu” (silk) shawl, the 49-year-old leader prostrated before the sanctum sanctorum and offered “kanikka” in the temple’s “hundi”.

 

After a brief conversation with the priest on the rituals and traditions of the ancient shrine, he went to the sacred stream, 700 metres away. Security officials had a tough time leading the barefoot leader through the undulating terrain, paved with huge rocks and boulders, inside the thick forest. Television visuals showed Mr Gandhi listening as the priest chanted the mantras, and followed his instructions to perform the “tharpanam”. Mr Gandhi spent around 45 minutes at the hill shrine before leaving for a party meeting at Sultan Bathery, around 45 km from Thirunelli.

“Besides Rajiv and Indira, the AICC chief performed rituals for jawans who lost their lives in the Pulwama terror strike and lakhs of party workers who have died,” Congress leader K.C. Venugopal, who was among those who accompanied Mr Gandhi, later told reporters.

 

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Tags: rahul gandhi, rajiv gandhi, 2019 lok sabha elections
Location: India, Kerala, Wayanad