Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today alleged that authorities in Assam are preventing him from visiting the Batadrava Satra Temple, the birthplace of Srimanta Sankardeva, an Assamese saint and scholar from the 15th century, in Nagaon.
Mr Gandhi questioned the restrictions imposed on him, stating, “We want to visit the temple. What crime have I committed that I cannot visit the temple?”
“We don’t want to create any problems, we simply want to pray at the temple,” he added.
मुझे मंदिर नहीं जाने दिया जा रहा है. ये नहीं चाहते कि मैं मंदिर जाऊं.
साफ है कि ‘ऊपर’ से आदेश आया है.
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 22, 2024
Yesterday, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had urged Mr Gandhi to reconsider the route for his ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, citing concerns about potential clashes with the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Mr Gandhi added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now decide who will visit the temple. “Only one person can enter the temple,” he said.
Following the incident, Congress leaders and Mr Gandhi began a sit-in protest in Nagaon.
Chief Minister Sarma yesterday stressed the need to avoid unnecessary competition between the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple and the visit to the birthplace of Srimanta Sankardeva at Batadrava.
Mr Sarma urged Mr Gandhi to reconsider his plans, expressing concerns that conflicting events could negatively impact the image of Assam.
“I urge Rahul Gandhi to not create a notion that there is a competition between Ram Temple and Batadrava Satra because the TV channels will be flashing Ram Temple Pran Pratishtha ceremony on one side and him visiting Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva’s birthplace on the other side. This won’t be good for Assam,” Mr Sarma stated.
The Congress has announced nationwide protests today evening, alleging “planned attacks” on the convoys of Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Assam. Party general secretary KC Venugopal accused the Assam Chief Minister of orchestrating attacks on their convoys, properties, and leaders, labeling him as “the most corrupt chief minister in India.”
Mr Venugopal called for large-scale protests across the country, denouncing what he claimed to be an “assault on democracy” in Assam by the BJP-led government.
Yesterday, during a road show, Mr Gandhi came face-to-face with a hostile crowd at a roadside eatery in Nagaon, with slogans raised against him and placards displayed with messages like ‘Anyay Yatra’ and ‘Rakibul go back,’ referring to Samaguri Congress MLA Rakibul Hussain.