The ongoing assembly elections in five Indian states have seen politicians and parties engaged in bitter fights with allegations exchanged by all sides on TV channel debates and on social media platforms. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, like other politicians, also becomes a target of online mockery with edited images, videos or statements shared in misleading contexts, doing the rounds of social media. One such image of Gandhi from his recent Gujarat visit, in which he can be seen wearing a face mask inside a restaurant, is being widely shared on Twitter claiming that he “is the only human on this planet who eat food with his mask on.” Newschecker has found this claim to be untrue.
Rahul Gandhi arrived in Dwarka on Saturday to attend a chintan shivir, or brainstorming session, organised by the Gujarat Congress. Several senior party leaders including Jagdish Thakor, Amit Chavda and Sukhram Rathva were also present. During his visit, Gandhi also paid a visit to the famous Dwarkadhish temple.
This is not the first time a picture of the Congress leader wearing a mask while seated in front of a meal has found its way on social media platforms claiming that “Rahul Gandhi eats with a face mask on”. In January 2022, Newschecker debunked two such claims. You can read our fact checks here and here.
We noticed that the plates seen on the table in the viral picture were empty and placards displayed on the wall had text written in Gujarati script. Taking a clue, we conducted a Google reverse image search with the keywords “Rahul Gandhi Gujarat” and found a news report by ABP Gujarati, dated February 26, 2022, the title of which roughly translates to ‘Rahul Gandhi enjoyed Gujarati food in Dwaraka.’ The report carried the viral image.
We looked up “Rahul Gandhi enjoying Gujarati food in Dwaraka” on Google and found a YouTube video uploaded on the official channel of Gujarat Tak on February 26, 2022, with the title ‘Dwarika congress Rahul Gandhi enjoyed Gujarati thali LIVE.’
In the initial frames of the video, Gandhi can be seen eating his meal without any face mask in the diner along with other party leaders.
Newschecker continued the investigation and found a video report by Divya Bhaskar, dated February 26, 2022, which a title which translates to ‘Rahul Gandhi tasted Kathiyawadi food: In Dwarka, the Congress leader ate like a normal person on a Rs 130 plate, licking his fingers.’
The report carried a video in which Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders can be seen having a “Kathiawadi meal.”
On comparing the keyframes of the video with the viral image, we could conclude that the image was taken at the same dinner during Gandhi’s recent visit to Dwarka. Notably, the plates in the viral image are empty indicating that the food had not been served at the time of taking the picture.
We further scanned the official Twitter account of Gujarat Congress and found a tweet, dated February 26, 2022, with the caption, “The simplicity of Shri @RahulGandhi ji at Devbhoomi Dwarka’s Pavan Dhara is heart touching.” The post carried two images in which Gandhi can be seen having food without a mask.
Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia also shared images from his meal with Gandhi on his Twitter account.
The viral claim that Rahul Gandhi ate while wearing a face mask is untrue and the image could mislead without further context.
Result: False context/Missing context
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