Rahul’s Kashi temple visit: Cong says photo-op denied; administration rejects claim

New Delhi, Feb 17 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday visited the famous Kashi Temple in Varanasi — Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — and offered prayers to Lord Vishwanath.

Later in the day, he also held a roadshow in the town, as a mark of show of strength.

Rahul’s visit to the holy town has sparked off controversy over the ‘failure’ of temple administration to furnish pictures of his paying obeisance to Lord Shiva.

Blaming the state government, Congress accused it of ‘blocking’ Rahul’s ‘shivbhakti’. However, the state government has rubbished the charges as ‘blatant lie’.

Congress, via its X handle, hurled a barrage of allegations against the temple administration as well as state government and termed it a plot to deny Congress leader, an opportunity to get photos clicked at the sanctum sanctorum.

The party said that the temple authorities denied opportunity to our cameraman to click pictures of Rahul offering prayers at the temple, at the last moment and it was done at the behest of district administration.

“Our permission was rejected at the last hour. District administration, despite its assurances, didn’t provide us pictures for more than 3.5 hours,” the party said.

“After persuasion and repeated requests, the temple administration shared 7 photos of Rahul’s visit but none of them pertain to his bowing down to Lord Shiva,” it further claimed.

However, Kashi temple CEO Vishwa Bhushan Mishra, told in an exclusive conversation with IANS, rejected the party’s charges as ‘baseless and unwarranted’, saying that as per the existing protocols, cameras are not permitted inside the premises.

“Relaxations are extended only in exceptional cases,” the temple official said, while maintaining that all people are treated at par before the Lord Vishwanath.

“Neither was permission given nor denied, as claimed,” the official said. He also added that no such permission was sought by Rahul’s associates or the party.

Notably, when Rahul visited the holy temple at around 10.30 AM, it saw huge commotion and also wide sloganeering by his supporters. Some eyewitnesses, who were present at the temple during his visit, also said that the huge rush prevented them from getting darshan of the Lord Shiva.

Replying to the charges of ‘sabotage’ over Rahul’s Kashi visit, the official clarified: “A peaceful atmosphere is need for photo-op opportunity too. Amidst the din, the temple photographer managed to click Rahul’s pictures and we duly shared it with them, as demanded.”

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