Bengaluru: BJP president Amit Shah is retracing most of the route that his Congress counterpart Rahul Gandhi had taken in the north eastern part (Hyderabad-Karnataka) of election-bound Karnataka during his ongoing three-day tour, but leaving out all the Muslim-associated places in the region.
If Gandhi visited the twin-religious places of Sharanabasappa temple and the Khwaja Bande Nawaz darga in Kalaburagi, ten days ago, Shah visited only the former. Gandhi went to temples and religious institutions known for their multi-religious and secular outlook on his four-day tour, but Shah took another tack and visited the famed Gurudwara in Bidar city and the Buddha vihar at Renukalgi, subtly underlining the BJP support to other minorities. He also visited the mutt of a Yogini, the Manikeshwari mutt, whose devotees believe, lives without eating food or drinking water.
Shah is set to visit the Anubhava Mantapa, a 12th century seat of equality and philosophy set up by philosopher-reformer Basavanna (Basaveshwara), the patron saint of the powerful Lingayat community that supports the BJP, on Monday. Gandhi visited this site and was given literature about the Basava philosophy 11 days earlier, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned this centre in his speech.
“It is almost as if the competition is direct,” a senior politician from this region, who declined to be identified even by his party, told ET. “The differences are subtle and there, but the imitation of Gandhi’s route by Shah is almost uncanny.”