A video clip is making rounds on social media with the claim that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was ‘foolishly’ seen offering a handshake to a differently-abled person in a public meeting, where other Congress leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi, K Sudhakaran and K C Venugopal, were also present. Social media users shared the video clip accusing Rahul Gandhi of being ‘insensitive’ for offering a handshake to an ‘armless man’.
The in-charge of the BJP’s IT department, Amit Malviya, posted the 9-second clip on Twitter and took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi by calling him “insensitive”. The post has received over 371.3K views, 250 retweets and over 800 likes. (Archive)
Insensitivity is writ large all over… pic.twitter.com/EPfs0qEFmp
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) April 12, 2023
State general secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha in Andhra Pradesh Mitta Vamsi Krishna also shared the video, writing “Heights of being senseless! @RahulGandhi trying to handshake with a divyang person?” (Archive)
— Mitta Vamsi Krishna (@MittaVamsiBJP) April 11, 2023
Another user, @erbmjha, who is followed by PM Narendra Modi on Twitter, also shared the clip with a similar claim, stating “This guy is the most problematically dimwitted person I’ve ever seen. Rahul Gandhi tried shaking hand with physically disabled person on the wheelchair without an arm… unbelievable!” The tweet garnered over 2,000 retweets, 7,000 likes and over 824K views. (Archive)
This guy is the most problematically dimwitted person I’ve ever seen.
Rahul Gandhi tried shaking hand with physically disabled person on the wheelchair without an arm… unbelievable!
— BALA (@erbmjha) April 11, 2023
Twitter user, @Humor_Silly also shared the video with the caption, “Rahul Gandhi trying to shake hands with an “armless” person? Is he for real?” The post has over 200 retweets and 600 likes. (Archive)
Rahul Gandhi trying to shake hands with an “armless” person?
Is he for real? pic.twitter.com/XCpH8lukYP
— Hardik (@Humor_Silly) April 11, 2023
The video was also shared by BJP Tripura state general secretary Amit Rakshit and Twitter Blue users like @BefittingFacts, @Incognito_qfs and @PaltuPaltann. (Archives can be founder, here, here, here and here)
Screenshots of the viral tweets are attached below.
The clip also went viral on Facebook.
A simple keyword search on YouTube led us to the original video clip from Rahul Gandhi’s official YouTube channel which was posted on April 11. The video, which is approximately over an hour long, was the live coverage of the Congress party’s public meeting held at Kalpetta in Wayanad, Kerala. The live video was also shared by the Congress party’s official Twitter handle. (Archive)
At the 1:07:48 mark, the differently-abled man is first seen extending his right arm to greet Rahul Gandhi, while his left arm is holding a placard with Gandhi’s picture printed on it along with the text- “We are with Rahul”. He can be clearly seen raising his right arm at 1:08:22 to shake Rahul Gandhi’s hand. Thus, the viral claim that Gandhi had ‘foolishly’ extended a handshake to a disabled man is misleading.
Below we have attached screengrabs of the exact moments where he can be seen raising his right arm.
We noticed that the spokesperson of INC Karnataka and national social media co-ordinater of INC India, Lavanya Ballal Jain, responded to Malviya’s tweet, stating, “The troll army chief is at it again! @TwitterSupport @TwitterIndia this is an doctored video by @amitmalviya.” (Archive)
— Lavanya Ballal Jain (@LavanyaBallal) April 12, 2023
Kerala Pradesh Congress Sevadal’s official Twitter handle posted a picture of Rahul Gandhi embracing the disabled person. The person can be seen holding the placard with his left arm. (Archive)
— Kerala Pradesh Congress Sevadal (@SevadalKL) April 12, 2023
As per reports by The Print, this was Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi’s first visit to Wayanad after the latter’s disqualification as a Lok Sabha member. The duo visited the Kerala border district on April 11 to participate in various activities organised by the UDF. Previously, Wayanad witnessed strong protests, including the burning of an effigy of PM Modi by Congress workers and its youth and student wings, over Rahul’s disqualification.
To sum up, social media is rife with a misleading claim that Rahul Gandhi had ‘insensitively’ offered a handshake to a differently-abled man in a public meeting at Wayanad, Kerala. A close inspection of the full video posted on Rahul Gandhi’s YouTube channel shows that the person had first extended his right arm to greet Gandhi. The man can be seen extending his arm for Gandhi twice within a span of 30 seconds.
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