Indore: Amid the BJP's charge that he is playing the "soft Hindutva card" by visiting temples in poll-bound states, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will perform a 'puja' at Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain on October 29 before hitting the hustings in the BJP-dominated Malwa-Nimar region.
In Madhya Pradesh, where elections are scheduled to be held on November 28, the Congress has been struggling to oust the ruling BJP from power for the last 15 years. Gandhi will begin his two-day tour of the Malwa-Nimar region after worshipping the famous Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva in Ujjain on October 29, a party leader said here Wednesday.
"Rahul Gandhi will begin his visit to the Malwa-Nimar region after offering prayers at the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain. He would address a public meeting in Ujjain after worshipping (the Jyotirlinga)," said Madhya Pradesh Congress Secretary Sanjay Kapoor.
The Congress chief would also hold a road show in Indore the same day. "On October 30, Gandhi will visit B R Ambedkar's birthplace Mhow, about 23 kms from Indore, and pay his tribute at the memorial of the Dalit icon. Gandhi would address a public meeting there," he said.
On the same day, Gandhi would address public meetings in tribal-dominated Khargone and Jhabua districts.
According to sources in the Congress, Gandhi is likely to visit Janapav near Mhow, which is the birthplace of Lord Parshuram. Malwa-Nimar region is spread across Indore and Ujjain divisions of western Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP had nearly swept the region in the assembly elections held in 2013 by winning 56 out of total 66 seats while the Congress was restricted to 9 seats.
The BJP has been ridiculing Gandhi for his visits to temples in states where elections are scheduled, by dubbing them as a "Temple Run"--an allusion to a popular running video game.
The Congress had proclaimed Gandhi as a "Shiv-bhakt" (a devotee of Lord Shiva) ahead of the assembly elections held in Gujarat last year.
Gandhi began canvassing in Madhya Pradesh last month by offering prayers at the famous Kamta Nath temple in Satna district's Chitrakoot town.
Battling anti-incumbency headwinds, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been projecting himself as the champion of development while the Congress is raising issues like "corruption", "bad governance" and "rise in crime against girls and women" at the hustings.