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Rahul Gandhi visits Golden Temple

September 22, 2008

Amid tight security, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi [Images] on Monday paid obeisance at the Golden Temple [Images] in Amritsar [Images] as he started his three-day visit to Punjab.

It was the first visit to the shrine by the 38-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family who was escorted by employees of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee to the sanctum sanctorum where he was given a siropa (robe of honour) by a priest.

During his 20-minute stay, Rahul, who wore a head scarf, listened to Shabad Kirtan (religious hymns) and also visited the community kitchen and had food.

"I am here as a humble devotee and not to pose for photographs. For the next two or three days I am in Punjab for mediapersons, but now at a religious place I would prefer not to talk," he told reporters who jostled with security personnel and the SGPC volunteers deployed for the visit to get a byte from the Congress general secretary.

Rahul also visited the historic Jallianwalla Bagh, paid tributes to the martyrs of the 1919 massacre and went to the Durgiana temple.

Rahul's visit to Punjab is part of his 'Discover India' programme during which he toured parts of Karnataka, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh [Images] earlier this year.

He will launch an awareness campaign on the Indo-US nuclear deal and hold road shows in Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur districts as part of his efforts to boost the ongoing recruitment drive in the Youth Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections early next year.

"I started my tour by paying obeisance at Golden temple. I will listen to the problems of all," Rahul, clad in a traditional kurta pyjama, told a gathering at Mohali after watching a kabaddi match.

Residents of village Hallomajra on the outskirts of Chandigarh were, however, left disappointed after Rahul skipped a scheduled road show in the area.

Rahul just waived to the people from his car who cheered loudly to greet the leader.

Skipping his road show, he dashed to the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Chandigarh and interacted with activists of Chandigarh and Haryana units of Congress.

He also planted a sapling on the premises of the PHDCCI.

Photograph: PTI Photo

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At Bangalore, Rahul Gandhi fails to impress

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