A crucial question that has been doing the rounds in the BJP-RSS circles is whether Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s soft or competitive Hindutva in Madhya Pradesh nibbled into the saffron brigade's sway over what it considers its core politics and ideology.

On the other hand, Congress strategists are patting themselves on the back for having crafted a campaign for their party chief that might have diluted to a large extent the anti-Hindu, pro-Muslim image of the Congress and Rahul.

Also read: How vikas narrative minus Hindutva failed BJP in state elections

A perusal of Rahul’s temple run in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan throws up a mixed picture. While the success rate of the Gandhi scion’s temple run would give the BJP sleepless nights and force it to opt for course correction, the picture is not that rosy for the new ‘janeudhari’ either.

Rahul visited five famous temples in Madhya Pradesh — the Kamtanath temple in Satna district’s Chitrakoot, Peetambara Peeth in Datia district, Ankaleshwar temple in Gwalior, Narmada Arti at Gwari Gha in Jabalpur and Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain.

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In Satna’s seven Assembly segments, Rahul’s Hindu rhetoric did not seem to have worked that well. The Congress retained the Chitrakoot seat from 2013, but lost Raigaon, Nagod, Maihar and Amarpatan to the BJP. While the BJP retained Rampur-Baghelan, it lost Satna to the Congress. Thus, in 2013, the Congress had four seats, BJP two and BSP one. But in 2018, the Congress was reduced to two, while the BJP won five.

Datia district has two Assembly seats, Datia and Sewda. While the BJP retained Datia from 2013, the Congress was successful in wresting Sewda. So here the contest was drawn.

In the four Assembly segments of Gwalior, while the BJP had all the four in 2013, it was left with just one this time — Gwalior (rural).

Then in the four Assembly segments of Jabalpur, while the BJP and Congress retained one seat each from last time, the BJP lost two to the Congress.

‘Shiv bhakt’ Rahul’s religiosity did not pay him well in Ujjain. Of the two seats in Ujjain, the BJP retained both from 2013.

However, Rahul’s success rate, as far as his newfound Hindu identity is concerned, was better in Rajasthan. Here the Congress president went to three temples in the run up to the elections — Shrinathji in Nathdwara, Khatu Shyamji in Sikar and Govind Devji in Jaipur. Of the nine Assembly segments in Jaipur, while the tally was 9-0 in favour of the BJP in 2013, the Congress snatched six seats from the BJP this time around.

In Nathdwara too, the BJP lost its 2013 hold and Congress wrested the seat. The same was the case in Sikar — a seat that the Congress snatched from the BJP this time around.