Rahul Gandhi Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, Faith and Politics: BJP, Congress Fight War Of Words

Gandhi had earlier said that the idea for the pilgrimage took roots following a near-death experience in April when the aircraft carrying him and his associates had plummeted 8,000 feet due to a snag while flying from Delhi to Hubli

Sept. 1, 2018, 9:30 a.m.

A war of words broke out between the Congress and the BJP as Congress president Rahul Gandhi left for a nearly two-week-long Kailash Mansarovar yatra. While the BJP alleged that Rahul is visiting China, and ostensibly wanted the Chinese ambassador to give him a ceremonial see-off, the Congress hit back and accused the BJP of attacking Hindu belief and faith.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that the Chinese ambassador had sought permission in writing from the Ministry of External Affairs to see off Rahul Gandhi at the ceremonial lounge of Delhi’s IGI Airport.

Accusing the BJP of trying to create hurdles in “Shiv bhakt” Rahul’s Kailash Mansarovar yatra, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said, “People in the BJP do not know that those who create hurdles between Shiv and his devotees earn sin and attract his curse. An unnerved Prime Minister and a rattled BJP have shown their parochial, hateful mindset by mocking this sacrosanct religious journey of Rahul-ji to Maha Kailash.”

Surjewala said, “Calling this auspicious yatra ‘honeymoon tourism’ by the BJP is the vilest attack on Hindu faith and belief. It is sad and tragic that the BJP is insulting the abode of Lord Shiv and Maa Parvati by such cheap political tactics. We pray that Mahadev shows them the path of enlightenment to cleanse their minds and souls from (this) hatred,” he said.

Surjewala did not disclose Rahul’s yatra route citing security reasons and said the pilgrimage will take 12 to 14 days.

In April, Rahul had announced that he would undertake the pilgrimage after the Karnataka Assembly elections. He had said that the thought of undertaking the yatra occurred to him after his plane nosedived by around 8,000 feet while on way to Hubli in Karnataka during the election campaign phase.

Surjewala on Friday asked why the BJP is so disturbed over Gandhi’s yatra. “Can Rahul Gandhi not pay obeisance to Lord Shiv (and) pray for the country’s prosperity and development? Does he need the permission of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi for a darshan of Shiv. Does Modi consider himself greater than Shiv? This is the height of arrogance of the BJP.”

Religious Significance of Kailash Mansarovar

Kailash mountain, located near Lake Mansarovar, occupies a special place in Hinduism as it is considered the home of Lord Shiva. Mansarovar Lake is also considered holy as Hindus believe it was conceived in the mind of Lord Brahma, following which it manifested on Earth. Devotees believe that drinking the lake’s water would ‘cleanse’ them of their sins and guarantee ascension to Shiva’s abode after death. The region is of spiritual significance to Buddhism, Bon and Jainism as well.

The Pilgrimage

Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage involves walking around the holy mountain on foot, a 51-km-long trek considered to be challenging due to the inhospitable terrain, high altitude and low temperatures.

The Congress president plans to complete the pilgrimage on foot in 12 days and he has received the requisite permission from the Ministry of External Affairs. The Chinese government has reportedly been intimated as well.

Gandhi had earlier said that the idea for the pilgrimage took roots following a near-death experience in April when the aircraft carrying him and his associates had plummeted 8,000 feet due to a snag while flying from Delhi to Hubli. A Directorate General of Civil Aviation's (DGCA) report on Friday revealed that the chartered plane was only 20 seconds away from crashing.

Courtesy: Indian media

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