The Congress party accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday of violating the model election code of conduct by visiting temples during his Nepal trip, PTI reported. Voting for 222 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka is under way.

Modi visited Muktinath Temple and Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal on Saturday, the second day of his two-day visit to the neighbouring country.

Congress leader Ashok Gehlot alleged that Modi had timed his visit on the date of the elections in Karnataka and was “giving a message to Hindus” in the state. He said Modi’s temple visits were being aired on the day of voting, which was against the code of conduct.

“This is not a good tradition in a democracy,” Gehlot said. “In Gujarat also, he held a road show after voting. Today, he has adopted a new path. When Karnataka is polling today, he has gone to Nepal and is worshipping in temples there, as he could not do so in the southern state due to elections.”

However, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale denied that the visit had been intentionally timed this way. He said the visit had been planned in February.

“Whenever state visits take place, they are decided as per the convenience of the two nations,” he told reporters, according to PTI. “No one prime minister alone can say that I will come at this time. So, don’t focus on the dates, but focus on the content of this visit.”

On Sunday, Modi met senior leaders in Nepal, including former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Sher Bahadur Deuba, and several Opposition leaders, and held wide-ranging discussions on ways to strengthen relations, PTI reported.

Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli assured India that Nepal’s territory would not be allowed to be used by anybody against India, Gokhale told reporters while briefing them about Modi’s visit.