'I'm a Kashmiri Pandit' Rahul Gandhi declares, BJP Slams 'Immaturity' in Jammu
Critics have noted an increase in Rahul Gandhi's religiosity in the run-up to the elections, citing temple visits and disclosures by aides of his Brahmin ancestry.
Rahul Gandhi, whose party has frequently chastised the ruling BJP for mixing politics and religion, was seen on Friday on a stage in Jammu exhorting supporters to sing "Jai Mata Di" and evoking his Kashmiri Pandit ancestors.
"Jai Mata Di," he said tepidly with a smile when speaking to a crowd of Congress workers, and when he didn't receive the required response, he went "Boliye, boliye (Say, say)" before repeating the Hindu chant a little louder and obtaining a better response.
"I am a Pandit from Kashmir. My ancestors are Kashmiri Pandits. A delegation of Kashmiri Pandits met with me and told me that the Congress had established numerous social programmes for them, whereas the BJP had done nothing. I pledge that I will do something for my Kashmiri Pandit brethren "Also, Mr. Gandhi stated.
The 51-year-old, who was in Jammu on a two-day visit, walked from Katra to the Vaishno Devi shrine on Thursday, with the pilgrimage's optics clear.
The Congress MP was seen in recordings walking quickly with pilgrims on the 14-kilometre length heading to the shrine, surrounded by security guards. The road was lined with Congress workers waving party flags.
"I've come to pay my respects to the Mata (mother goddess). I'm not going to make any political remarks here "According to Rahul Gandhi, who was pursued to the shrine by the media. The press was not permitted to bring their cameras.
The MP was seen talking with pilgrims in videos released by Congress. This is his second visit to Jammu & Kashmir after Article 370, which granted the former state special status, was repealed in August 2019. The state of Jammu and Kashmir was split into two halves.
Critics have seen an increase in the Congress leader's religiosity in the run-up to the polls, citing temple visits and disclosures by aides of his Brahmin lineage. The BJP has described the actions as "opportunistic."
Some, such as the Communist Party of India-Marxist, which has allied with the Congress on various fronts at the centre and in state elections despite being rivals in Kerala, have labelled these initiatives as "soft Hindutva" and a pathetic attempt to equal the BJP in the past.
The BJP stated on Friday in response to Mr Gandhi's comments, stating, "Rahul Gandhi conveniently forgot that the Kashmiri Pandits' problems were caused by the Congress and other like-minded parties' "appeasement policies." The Kashmiri Pandits, as well as the development of Kashmir, were sacrificed by the Congress for its petty vote bank tactics."
"The problems of Jammu and Kashmir are the legacy of the Gandhi family. It was Jawaharlal Nehru who was responsible for the problems of Kashmir... Rahul has yet again done what he's best at - immaturity and Irresponsibility," it said.