Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress, has been making news lately for his vehement criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led Centre while on foreign land. He is currently in the US. The BJP has criticised Rahul Gandhi for making controversial statements, and on Day 2 of his trip to America, the saffron party found more reasons to criticise the former MP.
Shehzad Poonawala, a spokesman for the BJP, uploaded a video on Twitter that allegedly depicts Rahul Gandhi attending an NRI outreach event that the Congress had sponsored. Poonawala alleged, “Half of the individuals Rahul addressed afterwards did not even bother to get up during the national anthem. Later, they said it was only ‘Mic Check’ as they interrupted the national anthem in the middle.
Poonawala demanded a clarification from the Congress over the alleged incident. “The onus is on Rahul Gandhi’s organising team to clarify if and why this disrespect was done? Who are the audiences who disrespect the National Anthem! No Indian would.. is Anthem used for Rahul’s mic check?”
The viral footage, according to the news agency, was taken out of context. Instead of the National Anthem’s real performance, a mic check was recorded.
The fact-checking team discovered an expanded version of the video that was shared with a similar charge after conducting a keyword search on Twitter. As soon as the song started, a woman behind the microphone motioned for everyone who stood to pay respects to sit back down. The song suddenly came to an abrupt halt, and the woman explained to the crowd that it was merely a mike check.
The video was being used by several BJP leaders to disparage Rahul Gandhi. Anil K. Antony, the son of former Union defence minister AK Antony, who left the Congress and joined the BJP in April, had previously tweeted the film.
“Half empty venue where 80 % of the crowd are sitting or disrespectfully lounging around with their hands in their pockets while India’s national anthem is being played (sic),” Anil K Antony wrote.
He asserted that the disrespect for the Indian national anthem was “not surprising” given that the event was organised by groups that promote negative stereotypes about India and are known to have “radical Islamist connections.”
The BJP’s accusations have not received a response from the Congress.
Rahul Gandhi is currently in California, US, as part of a three-city tour where he will meet American lawmakers and engage with the Indian diaspora. Sam Pitroda, president of the overseas Congress, stated that Gandhi’s visit is intended to advance “real democracy” and shared principles.