..........Sonia Gandhi.....Family Photos Picture - Sonia Gandhi Biography.....
Sonia Gandhi performs Puja at Shirdi temple
Sonia Gandhi performs Puja at Shirdi temple
Sonia Gandhi’s current visits to Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have suddenly taken on a heavy dose of faith at a time of political uncertainty and impending elections.

In Shirdi, the Congress president stepped into the Sai Baba temple on her way to a political rally at Loni. Tomorrow at Ujjain, where she has another meeting, Sonia will drop in at the Mahakal temple.

Sonia arrived in Shirdi at noon and performed aarti. During her 20-minute visit, the Shirdi Sai Sansthan, which runs the temple, presented her a statute of the Sai Baba and a book on his life.

Although Congress sources suggested personal faith as the motive — today happens to be the birthday of Rahul Gandhi who turns 38 — seeking the Sai Baba’s blessings for her son may not be the only reason that took Sonia to the shrine.

A Christian who was once beset by questions about her Italian birth, Sonia has often turned to temple visits to make a political point. She may have felt the need again at a time her party is deadlocked with the Left on the nuclear deal and the BJP has once more called for a Ram temple ahead of a series of elections.

Party old-timers recalled that Sonia had visited the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh during the 1998 general election, soon after which the Congress Working Committee had passed a resolution that said: “Hinduism is the most effective guarantor of secularism in India.”

When the Sangh parivar raised a furore over her “foreign origins” a decade ago, Sonia visited the Ramakrishna Mission in Delhi — a favourite spiritual refuge for Indira Gandhi — on January 12, 1999. She spent a day with Swami Gokulanandaji Maharaj, underlining her “Indianness” and her Gandhi family credentials, while doing the Congress’s Hindu vote bank no harm.

The Mahakal and Shirdi shrines rank among the highest Hindu pilgrimage centres. With elections coming up in Maharashtra and BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, she could not afford to ignore these temples during a political trip.

In September 1998, when Sonia chaired her party’s Panchmarhi conclave, she visited the Mahadev temple in the Madhya Pradesh town. Her next destination was the Brahma temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan.

These expressions of faith haven’t always paid off at elections. Sonia had taken the holy dip at Kumbh, Allahabad, in 2001 before the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. 

Pictures of their leader performing the Ganga puja, Ganpati puja, Kul Devta puja and Triveni puja had gladdened Congress leaders but failed to shore up the party’s fortunes at the hustings. 
..........Sonia Gandhi.....Family Photos Picture - Sonia Gandhi Biography.....

..........Sonia Gandhi.....Family Photos Picture - Sonia Gandhi Biography.....

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