November 6, 2023
NEW DELHI – Amidst ongoing assembly elections in five states, Rahul Gandhi’s sudden visit to Kedarnath has taken many by surprise. Speculations are doing the rounds at the temple town on the purpose of the unscheduled visit.
Congress leaders in Dehradun passed it off as the former party president’s personal spiritual visit, but party sources and those at the shrine area informed that he was here to take stock of the construction works and find issues against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.
Uttarakhand Congress president Karan Mahra wrote in his X post, “RahulGandhi is coming to Uttarakhand to visit Baba Kedarnath. This is his personal spiritual visit. All party workers are requested to respect his journey and let him conclude it in solitude. You can extend his support now and meet your beloved leader next time.”
However, those present with Rahul Gandhi in Kedarnath informed that he was taking feedback on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-monitored construction work in the Kedarnath Shrine area, also known as Kedarpuri.
The Congress leader will meet local people and priests to understand if the ongoing reconstruction works in Kedarpuri are in tune with the environment and topographical requirements of the shrine area. “We are yet to meet Rahul Gandhi. He arrived in the afternoon on a three-day visit. A meeting is scheduled in the evening. We will raise some vital issues before him that have not been addressed on the ongoing construction works in Kedarpuri,” said Kedarnath Shrine priests association Kedar Sabha president Vinod Shukla.
It’s interesting to note that that Kedar Sabha had been persistently raising objections to several construction activities taken up by the state government in Kedarpuri.
“Kedarpuri has witnessed too much construction work in the past few years. This has done massive damage to an already fragile terrain of the Kedarnath. The ongoing digging and drilling works behind the shrine must be stopped. One five-storey building is ready and now a mall is under construction. These constructions are damaging for Kedarpuri. We want the height of the five storey building to be reduced and mall works stopped. We will also raise the issue of a plan to demolish houses and ashrams of the pandas and purohits in Kedarnath and reconstruction of pre-2013 disaster road to the shrine. These issues will be discussed with Rahul Gandhi” informed Shukla.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior PCC office bearer informed that Rahul’s visit is more than personal for “he will dig out the ills of Kedarnath reconstruction works as this is an important project for the prime minister who monitors the shrine works himself and keeps it close to his heart. You will see the result and BJP may feel the heat once Rahul Gandhi returns from Kedarnath.”
Rahul’s Kedarnath visit was kept a secret by the party till Saturday evening when PCC chief posted this information on the X. No official schedule was prepared by the Congress party as to his Kedarnath visit this time. On Sunday Rahul landed at Dehradun airport at around 11 am and flew straight to Kedarnath without meeting any party leader or public.