Ahmedabad, November 13: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday invoked Lord Shiva in reply to Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism that the Gandhi scion is visiting temples only during elections. Rahul offered prayers at Bahuchara Ji Temple near Mehsana district in Gujarat.

Main Shiv ka bhakt hoon, sachaai mein believe karta hoon. BJP jo bhi bole main apni sachaai mein believe karta hun. (I am devotee of Lord Shiva. The BJP may say anything, but I believe in my honesty,” Rahul Gandhi.

Earlier in the day, BJP National General Secretary Bhupender Yadav hit out at the Amethi MP by referring to his recent temple visits in poll-bound Gujarat as election gimmicks. “Star campaigner of Congress Rahul Gandhi is visiting temples and offering prayers which is good as it is a part of Indian culture. However, this must come naturally to a person and not only during elections,” Yadav said.

Rahul began his three-day tour of north Gujarat on November 11 and visited two of the most famous temples in the state- Ambaji temple and Akshardham temple. His visit to the temples triggered a war of words between BJP and Congress, with the ruling party alleging that he is visiting temples just to garner votes, while the latter hit back, saying the BJP does not have a “patent” on devotion.

After his arrival on Saturday morning, Rahul went straight to Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, offered prayers to Lord Swaminarayan. Akshardham temple belongs to the Swaminarayan sect, that has a huge following among the Patel community, which the Congress is trying to woo ahead of the December polls.

Rahul also visited goddess Amba temple at Ambaji in Banaskantha district of north Gujarat. He performed aarti and pooja at the temple amid chanting of ‘Jai Ambe Maa’ by party workers and devotees.

Gujarat will go to polls on December 9 and 14. The counting of votes will take place on December 18.

With inputs from PTI