Prabhjot Gill, Amritsar, 22 September 2008 : Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary, Congress party visited the Harmandar Sahib, the sacred shrine at the Golden Temple, Laxmi Nayaran Temple and paid tribute to the martyr of battle of dograi fought during 1965 Indo-Pak war at the dograi war Memorial at Military station Sector Khasa in Amritsar on Monday as many as 105 solider had lost their lives while 250 were wonder in the holy city Amritsar.
Rahul Gandhi, son of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, arrived at the shrine just before 7 a.m. Clad in a white kurta-payjama and wearing a saffron headscarf, Rahul Gandhi remained inside the sanctum sanctorum for nearly 25 minutes and sat down quietly behind the ‘raagis’ (religious hymn singers) to listen to hymns.He also went to the community kitchen to partake in ‘langar’. He was not given a ‘siropa’ (a religious honour normally given to all visiting VIPs) by the priests at the holy shrine.
Though accompanied his Special Protection Group (SPG) officers in plain clothes, Rahul Gandhi kept the visit strictly private and confidential. Even the local police did not have much idea about the high profile visit. R.P. Meena, the border range inspector general of police, told The India post: ‘I have no idea about his visit. I don’t know anything about it.’
He was supposed to arrive straight in Chandigarh (Monday morning) and then get on with his engagements and hold road shows in 17 (out of 20) districts in Punjab over the next two days. However, he flew into Amritsar and headed for the Golden Temple,’ a local Congress leader told The India post.
Incidentally, Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the shrine got covered live on a TV channel by default as the morning hymns are telecast live on that channel. Ruling Akali Dal leaders in Punjab have stakes in the Punjabi TV channel.