Hegde's statement comes in the backdrop of Rahul's visit to temples in Karnataka ahead of the assembly elections.
"For the past 60-70 years the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been campaigning to make people realise their Hindu origins; at least Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Rahul Gandhi now get it, but you need to practice it and not just say you are a Hindu," Hegde told ANI.
"Otherwise you are 'Khota Hindutvawadi', he added.
Earlier in the week, Congress President had concluded his four-day tour in north Karnataka districts in the first leg of his campaign in the poll-bound state, during which he visited temples, mutts and Dargahs.
He will begin his second phase of the tour in the state from February 24. (ANI)