New Delhi: An image of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sitting down for a meal while wearing an N-95 mask went viral on social media Wednesday, accompanied by false claims that he had eaten with the mask on.
Arun Yadav, the Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) IT head, was one of those who shared the image, with the caption “first person to eat with a mask on”.
मास्क लगा कर खाना खाने वाला पहला आदमी 😂 pic.twitter.com/P8lvc8Ncs1
— Arun Yadav (@beingarun28) January 26, 2022
His post was liked by over 9,000 people, and more than 1,900 retweeted the image.
Rahul Valmiki, who, according to his verified Twitter profile, works with the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, also shared the image on his Facebook page with the caption, “The first man to eat food wearing a mask,” attracting more than 500 likes and over 150 shares.
Many others trolled Rahul Gandhi over this, with one commenting, “Even imitation requires intelligence,” on his post.
While one Twitter user wrote, “The first person to eat with a mask on. Pappu can’t even act properly, and he wants to fight against Yogi (Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath) and Modi ji”, another said, “The first person in the world to eat with mask on, and then they ask why he’s called ‘Pappu’”
मास्क लगा कर खाना खाने वाला पहला आदमी!
नाटक भी ढंग से नहीं होता इस पप्पू से😂😂😂
और चला है योगीबाबा और मोदिजी को टक्कर देने।। pic.twitter.com/DeW6wNVYAI
— सूरज पाण्डेय (हिन्दू)🙏 (@SoorajP35352515) January 25, 2022
मास्क लगा कर खाना खाने वाला दुनियां का पहला आदमी है फिर कहते पप्पू क्यों कहते हो ! pic.twitter.com/szDP79QCPm
— Somnath Raj Purohit (@SomnathPurohit) January 25, 2022
The claim that Rahul Gandhi ate his meal while wearing a mask is false. The image appears to be a real one from an event, but he took off his mask when he started eating.
The photo was taken on 25 January last year, during Rahul’s three-day visit to Tamil Nadu ahead of the state assembly polls, when he had lunch with weavers at Odanilai in Erode district.
Just below BJP leader Yadav’s post — which gained the most traction on Twitter — the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee shared images of Rahul eating at the event after taking off his mask.
அன்பும் பண்பும் நிறைந்த தமிழ் மக்களோடு உணவு உண்டது மகிழ்ச்சி அளிக்கிறது.
— Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (@INCTamilNadu) January 24, 2021
Several media channels that covered his visit to the state also recorded him taking the mask off to eat. He takes it off at 0:22 in this video.
A report published by The Hindu at the time captured him eating without his mask during the event.
Tamil newspaper Dina Thanthi’s website also published a report with the image of Rahul eating without his mask.
(In collaboration with SM Hoaxslayer)