NATIONAL

Advani visits Akshardham temple

AHMEDABAD DEC. 7. Taking time off from his hectic electioneering in Gujarat, the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, today visited the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, where 31 persons were killed by militants on September 24, and paid his respects to Pramukh Swami of the Swaminarayan sect.

Accompanied by the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, Mr. Advani, who spent half-an-hour at the temple, told reporters that the visit is ``auspicious for me as it coincides with the birthday of a genuine saint like Pramukh Swami.''

The temple spokesman, Nishit Acharya, told PTI: ``Advaniji knew that Pramukh Swami would perform puja here and, therefore, decided to come and take his blessings.''

The Deputy Prime Minister also visited the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital and enquired about the health of the NSG commando, Surjan Singh Bhandari, who was critically injured during the Akshardham operation and is in coma since then.

Mr. Advani met the commando's relatives and offered all support to the family. He also asked the doctors attending on him to give him the best possible medication.

The Deputy Prime Minister also visited the VHP Gujarat unit general secretary, Jaideep Patel, in another hospital and sought details of the attack on him on December 3 by two motorcycle-borne gunmen.

PTI

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