Several social media users are circulating a video, claiming that Rahul Gandhi and other Congress party leaders were coming out drunk from a bar in Kerala. Gandhi is currently in the state as part of the party’s five-month-long journey across India called Bharat Jodo Yatra. The leader on Thursday resumed the 15th day of the yatra, which entered Kerala on September 10, from a college in Ernakulam district. The yatra, which started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, is set to cover a distance of 3,570km and is scheduled to conclude in Jammu and Kashmir. The viral video has various social media users mocking the march, calling it “Bar Jodo Yatra”.
Where was the video shot?
On conducting a keyword search for the video on Facebook, Newschecker came across a Facebook post, attaching the same video, by a user Anu Ashok. The description stated that the ‘bar’ in the video is actually an eatery owned by one Ansar in Oachira.
Enquiring further, we came across another Facebook post by one Vinod Oachira, who shared a photo of Gandhi eating at Malabar Hotel in Oachira, Kollam. Kollam is a southern district in Kerala, which Gandhi had already crossed as part of the yatra close to a week ago.
From this post, we learnt that the hotel was established 75 years ago by a long-time Congress supporter and it is now being run by Ansar, the founder’s son.
‘Eatery does not serve liquor‘
We then contacted Ansar, who said, “Rahul Gandhi and some other leaders came here for breakfast around 7:30 in the morning, which can be clearly seen on our CCTV footage. It is a hotel frequented by the public for meals. Neither do we have a bar, nor do we serve liquor here. As there is a small step on the way out of the hotel, some of the leaders stumbled there, making it seem like they were swaying drunk.”
CCTV footage shows Congress leaders eating
The hotel owner also shared with Newschecker the CCTV footage showing Gandhi and other Congress workers eating food. It can be seen that the Congress workers are not drinking at the hotel, confirming that no consumption of liquor happened at this particular eatery.
We also found photos of the hotel from restaurantguru.in and found it to match the viral video and CCTV footage.
This article was also published in Newschecker Malayalam.
UPDATE: Calling it a false campaign, Congress member advocate M Liju said, “KPCC has decided to file a case. We had gone there [Malabar Hotel] for breakfast around 7am. It is foolish to assume that one can get drunk while travelling with Rahul Gandhi, who is with security officers. There was a step outside the hotel that was causing people to stumble, creating the perception that they were drunk.”
While our investigation has revealed that no alcohol was served in Malabar Hotel, where Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders stopped for breakfast, there are multiple variables here that cannot be fact checked. Hence it is not possible to verify if any of the Congress leaders or workers consumed alcohol in any other instance outside the hotel.
Facebook post by Anu Ashok on September 21,2022
Facebook post by Vinod Oachira on September 18,2022
CCTV visuals from Malabar Hotel on September 17,2022
Telephone conversation with Ansar owner of Malabar Hotels
With reporting inputs from Kerala by Sabloo Thomas.
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