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As the contest for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly election heats up, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra seems to have boarded the Hindu bus on a bumpy electoral route.

While strong intervention from the Congress and Priyanka’s political efforts in the backdrop of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident was widely reported, attention has also gone to the Gandhi scion’s new avatar as a “devout Hindu woman”.

The leader, who has rarely been spotted visiting temples before, is now beginning her speeches by reciting Durga Stuti with chandan smeared on her forehead like she did at a rally in Varanasi on Sunday.

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In the last few days, she has made an attempt to project the Gandhis as “devout Hindus”.

On October 7, as she headed to meet families of victims in the Lakhimpur violence, her first stop was at Mari Mata temple on the outskirts of Lucknow. And as her staff shared pictures with the media, a message was also passed on that she was fasting on the first day of Navratri.

Now, in Varanasi, Priyanka did not just pay a visit to Kashi Vishwanath and the Durga temple, but ensured that the visuals make their way to media outlets.

But even as temple visits might already be an attempted strategy by the Gandhis – as seen with brother Rahul Gandhi during the Gujarat elections — the surprise came when Priyanka started her address at the ‘kisan nyay’ rally with a Durga Stuti.

Congress leaders, however, said there was nothing unusual about this and the party firmly believed in harmony of all religions. They added that the Varanasi rally began with sermons from all four major religions — Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity.

Priyanka’s new avatar, after her famous dip in the Sangam in Prayagraj some months ago, is being keenly watched in Uttar Pradesh.

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