Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, banned by the Election Commission from campaigning for 72 hours starting today, stayed very much in the limelight as he visited a famous Lucknow temple with cameras in tow.
Asked to avoid public speeches or rallies, Mr Adityanath chose the first day of the ban to make a much publicized visit to the Hanuman Setu temple in the central part of Lucknow. The Hanuman Setu is a famous landmark in the city and has been a must-stop for politicians of all hues during elections over the years.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also visited the temple before filing his nomination to contest as a BJP candidate in Lucknow, but after Yogi Adityanath left. The Chief Minister was supposed to accompany him for the nomination but had to drop the idea after the ban.
Inside the temple, Yogi Adityanath was filmed folding his hands before the deity and praying, surrounded by TV cameras.
The Chief Minister did not speak to the media; the poll body has also barred him from media interactions.
It's not clear if the temple visit will attract any censure from the election body - sources in the BJP say the he was not campaigning but making a "personal visit" to the temple.
Yogi Adityanath has been gagged for his divisive comments at a rally where he said: "If the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP have faith in Ali, then we too have faith in Bajrang Bali". While Ali is revered by Muslims as Prophet Mohammad's successor, Bajrang Bali is another name for Lord Hanuman.
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