Rahul Gandhi, who is in Kerala as a part of his ambitious Bharat Jodo Yatra, is in the social media spotlight yet again, this time over an old video allegedly showing Gandhi ‘refusing’ to partake in ‘Aarti’ at a puja. While many users questioned his stance on ‘Hindu beliefs’, others expressed shock at Gandhi’s refusal to partake in the rituals. However, Newschecker found the video to be old and shared without context.
Several Twitter users shared a 23-second-long-video claiming to show the Congress leader ‘refusing to do Aarti’.
On analysing the viral video, we noticed the idol of Hindu Goddess Durga. Taking a clue, we conducted a keyword search for “Rahul Gandhi Durga Puja,” and “राहुल गांधी दुर्गा पूजा,” on Twitter which led us to a post by Congress leader Jitendra Patwari, dated September 27, 2017. The post carried a 52-second-long-video with a caption in Hindi which translates to “Rahul Gandhi attended maa Durga puja and garba pandals of Navratri in Rajkot district..maa durga will give power to Rahul ji to win Gujarat…”
On comparing the keyframes of the video posted by Patwari and the viral clip claiming to show Gandhi refusing to do aarti, we could conclude that they are from the same event.
In the longer version of the video (posted by Patwari in 2017), Rahul Gandhi can be seen holding and rotating the Aarti thali, before handing it over to Ashok Gehlot. Following his turn, Gehlot hands over the Aarti thali to the person standing next to Rahul Gandhi, who further offers the thali to a third person, while Gandhi takes a step back to clear the way. The man is not even seen looking at Gandhi as he offers the Aarti thali to another person.
A keyword search for “Rahul Gandhi Rajkot Garba Durga Puja” led us to several social media posts from September 2017 featuring the same 52-second-long video. Such posts can be seen here, here and here.
Further, we conducted Yandex reverse image search on the keyframes of the viral video which led us to a Facebook post by Ashok Gehlot, dated September 27, 2017, captioned “Offered prayers to #AmbeMata..”
The post carried a 39-second-long video, which -on analysing – we could conclude was actually a shooter version of the clip posted by Patwari from a different angle. It starts when the ‘Aarti thali was with Gehlot. Around 33 seconds in the video, Gehlot can be clearly seen gesturing to a person standing next to him to take the Aarti thali from the man standing on Gandhi’s right, who then hands it over to the former. It can be clearly seen that at this point, the Aarti thali was not offered to Gandhi, but to another man standing next to Gehlot, discrediting the claim that the Congress leader had refused to do Aarti.
In addition, we also came across a tweet by Rahul Gandhi, dated September 27, 2017, captioned, “the day ends well with Garba in Rajkot.” The post carried four photographs from the same event, one of them shows Gandhi holding the Aarti thali.
Notably, ahead of the 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on a state tour during which visited various temples and performed aartis at a garba venue each in Jamnagar and Rajkot in three days.
Viral posts claiming that Rahul Gandhi refused to do Aarti are false. The video is around five years old and lacks context.
Result: Missing Context
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