A photograph of Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi wearing a mask while sitting around women at a dining table has gone viral with a sarcastic claim stating that "he was eating while wearing a mask".
We found photos of videos of the event that took place in Tamil Nadu and found that the claim is not true. Gandhi took the mask off while eating but kept wearing it while interacting with people around him.
The viral image was shared by State Head of IT and Social Media of BJP Haryana Arun Yadav on his Twitter handle with a caption that said, "मास्क लगा कर खाना खाने वाला पहला आदमी".
[Translation: The first man to eat with a mask on.]
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We conducted a reverse image search of the viral image and found that the image was first shared by Tamil Nadu Congress Committee's official Twitter handle on 24 January 2021.
The tweet had two more photographs where Gandhi was seen not wearing the mask while eating.
We then conducted a keyword search for Gandhi's Tamil Nadu visit and found news reports that said that he visited the state to kick-off the party's election campaign for the 2021 assembly elections. In the photo, Gandhi was seen having lunch with weavers at Odanilai in Erode district.
A video of the incident was also shown a Tamil news channel called Puthiyathalaimurai TV.
At 0:22 seconds in the video, we see Gandhi removing the mask before he starts eating.
Clearly, a misleading claim was shared with the photograph of a mask-clad Rahul Gandhi to take a dig at the Congress leader and claim that he was eating while wearing a mask.