NEW DELHI: On a day when polling is being held for 222 assembly constituencies in Karnataka, the Congress party on Saturday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to influence the voters in the southern state through his temple visits in Nepal.
The party alleged that PM Modi's temple visits have been timed keeping in mind the polling in the Congress-ruled Karnataka.
Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot alleged that the Prime Minister had timed his visit to the Himalayan nation on the Karnataka poll date, and was "giving a message to Hindus" in the southern state.
Alleging violation of the Model Code of Conduct, Gehlot also raised objections to why TV news channels were airing PM Modi's temple visits in Nepal on the day of polling in Karnataka.
''This is not a good tradition in a democracy. In Gujarat also, he held a road show after voting. Today, he has adopted a new path. When Karnataka is polling today, he has gone to Nepal and is worshipping in temples there, as he could not do so in the southern state due to elections," Gehlot said.
The AICC general secretary said, ''PM Modi, through his temple visits, was giving out a message to voters in Karnataka of how religious he was and that he was a Hindu.''
"If one asks him (Modi), no other person is Hindu, except the BJP and RSS people, besides him and Amit Shah," he said.
The party attacked PM Modi shortly after the former visited the iconic Muktinath temple in Nepal and offered prayers there.
The temple is regarded as sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists and, by paying a visit to it, PM Modi has become the first world leader to offer prayers there.
The PM also offered prayers at the famous Pashupatinath temple, which is located on the banks of the Bagmati river.
The Pashupatinath temple is regarded as the most sacred and oldest temple of Lord Shiva (Pashupati) in Nepal.
Polling is underway in 222 out of 224 seats in Karnataka which is witnessing a three-cornered contest.
Karnataka has over 5.06 crore electorate, including 2.6 crore men and 2.5 crore women. A total of 15.42 lakh voters, aged 18-19, have registered for the first time.
Polling is being held in 58,008 stations in 30 districts across the state, with 600 of them dubbed 'pink booths', overseen by women personnel. Over 1.5 lakh security personnel have been deployed.
The vote count will take place on May 15.
In all, 2,654 candidates are in the fray, including 219 women. A total of 222 are from the Congress and BJP each, 201 from JD-S, 1,155 Independents and 800 from other national, regional and fringe parties. About 450 contestants are in the battle from Bengaluru.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is contesting from Chamundeshwari at Mysuru and Badami in Vijayapura district. BJP's Lok Sabha member from Ballari B.R. Sriramaulu is also contesting from two seats, including Badami and Molakamuru (reserved) seat in Chitradurga district.
JD-S state president and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is in the fray from Ramanagara and Channapatna seats in the old Mysuru region.
BJP state unit president Yeddyurappa is contesting from Shikaripura in Shivamogga district in Malnad region. Siddaramaiah has fielded his son Yatindra from his hometown Varuna in Mysuru district.