4 days after Operation Bluestar anniversary, Rahul Gandhi visits Golden Temple as ‘common devotee’ | punjab | Hindustan Times
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4 days after Operation Bluestar anniversary, Rahul Gandhi visits Golden Temple as ‘common devotee’

He landed at Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport at 4pm, from where he directly reached to the holiest Sikh shrine. He did not indulge in any political activity nor did he interact with the media.

punjab Updated: Jun 10, 2017 21:33 IST
HT Correspondent
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi paying obeisance at Golden Temple, Amritsar on Saturday.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi paying obeisance at Golden Temple, Amritsar on Saturday.(Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took everybody by surprise as he reached Amritsaron Saturday afternoon and paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and Akal Takht as a “common devotee”.

It was just an hour-long visit after which he left for the airport. He did not indulge in any political activity nor did he interact with the media.

Coming just four days after the 33rd anniversary of Operation Bluestar, the visit sparked speculations on his motive.

However, Amritsar MP Gurjit Singh Aujla clarified the visit coincided with the Parkash Parv of Guru Hargobind.

As per party sources, Rahul planned the trip suddenly at 12.30 pm, after which local party leaders were informed. He landed at Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport at 4pm, from where he directly reached the Sikh shrine.

Rahul Gandhi rejected VIP entry to the sanctum-sanctorum and opted to stand in queue like other devotees, despite the fact that SGPC employees offered him the facility. (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)

Except Aujla and MLA Sunil Dutti, no other prominent party leader accompanied Rahul.

Even Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who inaugurated a ‘sanjhi rasoi’ at the local Guru Nanak Hospitala few hours before Rahul’s arrival, did not accompany the party vice-president, pointing to the visit being non-political and private.

STANDS IN QUEUE,SITS WITH ‘SANGAT’

Forgoing VIP entry to the sanctum sanctorum offered by the SGPC employees, Rahul opted to stand in the queue with other devotees. He waited for his turn for 25 minutes amid scorching heat.

After kneeling down before Guru Granth Sahib inside the shrine, he sat along with the ‘sangat’ to listen to the gurbani. He also interacted with other devotees, who took the opportunity to take selfies with him. Rahul stayed there for around 15 minutes and also offered ‘prasad’.

Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the shrine sparked speculation as he visited the shrine four days after the 33rd anniversary of Operation Bluestar. (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)

After coming out of the shrine, the Congress vice-president paid obeisance at the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs.

Prior to this, he took water from the sarovar (holy tank) and sprinkled it on his face as per Sikh tenets.

As Rahul avoided the media, some mediapersons even had a scuffle with security personnel as they made an effort to interview him.

BAD WEATHER DELAYS RETURN

After visiting the Golden Temple, Rahul left for the Amritsar airport, from he took a flight to New Delhi around 6.30pm.

However, due to duststorm, the plane was forced to land back at the airport after a few minutes. The plane finally left the city at 8.45pm.