In an unprecedented move, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited Hanuman Garhi temple near the disputed structure in Babri Masjid. He is the first person from Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to visit Ayodhya after Babri Masjid demolition in 1992.
After offering prayers at the temple, which is a kilometre away from the Ram Temple at the Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid site, Gandhi met Mahant Gyan Das who is a vocal critic of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Presently on a Kisan Yatra, Gandhi is touring the length and breadth of Uttar Pradesh as part of a campaign for the coming Assembly polls.
Former PM Rajiv Gandhi visited Ayudhya in 1990 and he was the last person from the dynasty to visit Ayodhya. Other members of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty have come close. Even BJP”s Varun Gandhi from Sultanpur constituency had been scheduled to take part in BJP rallies in Ayodhya, but had skipped them.
After visiting the Hanuman Garhi temple, Gandhi also visited the Kichaucha Sharif Dargah, a Muslim shrine in Ambedkar Nagar.
Some political analysts see Gandhi’s visit to Ayodhya as a soft Hindutva agenda to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party.