In political circles, Rahul Gandhi is often made fun of for dancing to BJP’s tune. While the readers may find it funny, it is actually the truth. It’s the Bhartiya Janata Party that decides the course of action for the Congress and the family that runs it, the Nehru-Gandhi family. The same is visible in Gandhi scion, approach of Rahul Gandhi to the Lingayat community in Karnataka.
Rahul Gandhi gets ‘deeksha’ at Lingayat Mutt
In the wake of assembly elections due in Karnataka next year, Rahul Gandhi is trying to win the southern fort. Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi visited the prominent Sri Jagadguru Murugharajendra Mutt in Chitradurga, situated about 200kms away from Bengaluru.
It is an absolute honour to visit Sri Jagadguru Murugharajendra Vidyapeetha and receive the 'Ishtalinga Deekshe' from Dr. Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru.
The teachings of Guru Basavanna are eternal and I am humbled to learn more about it from the Sharanaru of the Math. pic.twitter.com/5Dgj53roSp
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 3, 2022
In his one hour long visit, he sought blessings of the pontiff of the mutt, Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Swami. Gandhi also received ‘Ishtalinga Deeksha’, a symbolic representation of the Shivling. The horizontal lines of ‘vibhuti’ drawn on Gandhi’s forehead were similar to those worn by Lingayats.
Rahul Gandhi also met the seer of Moorusavura Mutt, another prominent mutt of the Lingayat community, where he was accompanied by Congress chief D K Shivakumar and former CM Siddaramaiah.
Rahul Gandhi’s outreach to the Lingayat community has political meanings
The move is being speculated as Rahul Gandhi’s initiation into the Lingayat sect, the single largest community in the state. Ishtalinga, which is tied to a thread that crosses the chest or body, is placed on newborns in Lingayat families at the time of their naming ceremony. The thread can be tied to any person at the time one accepts the Lingayat philosophy. So, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that Rahul Gandhi is the new ‘Lingayat’ on the block.
The Lingayats make up nearly 17 per cent of the state population in the state and their support is crucial for any party that wishes to win power. And the reason why Congress is putting effort is that the Lingayat community is a loyal vote bank of the Bhartiya Janata Party, and the saffron party is further denting the Vokkaliga voters of the JD(S). Congress had earlier in the 2013 and 2018 elections attempted to woo the Lingayat community and advocated for recognition of Lingayatism as a religion separate from Hinduism. However, the move backfired and the drift happened towards the BJP. Congress is again determined to fall flat on its face in the southern state.
From janneudhari Brahmin to a Lingayat
While the Gandhi scion may have attempted to attract the fence sitters Lingayats, the move has started backfiring. The BJP referred to Rahul Gandhi during his visit as an ‘Election Hindu’. Through the BJP targeting the Gandhi scion stated that Gandhis reinforce their religious credentials only around elections, whether it be visiting temples, calling themselves “Shiva devotees” or identifying themselves as “janeudhari Brahmin”.
Well, it was not too early when the Congress left no stone unturned in proving Rahul Gandhi a janeudhari Brahmin. Now, defying all the claims, the Gandhi scion has comfortably given up janneu to woo the Lingayats. As the members of the Lingayat community do not follow the regular practices of Hinduism or Santana Dharma, and donot wear janneu.
With his approach to the Lingayat community Rahul Gandhi has again proven that Faith is a tool for the Nehru-Gandhi family and the Gandhi scion will only follow the agenda that the BJP sets for him.
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