A photograph of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi seated next to a young woman, showing the two interacting, is being widely shared on social media platforms, taking a dig at Gandhi for "playing with young girls" during the party's ongoing 'Bharat Jodo Yatra.'
The photo was shared with the text, which mockingly referred to Gandhi as 'Pappu', stating that he was busy playing with henna-wearing children and that it was strange that the ten people he was on a yatra with were taking him seriously.
However, the claim is misleading. The photograph shows Gandhi with his niece Miraya Vadra, and it was taken on 20 August 2015 in New Delhi, during a remembrance ceremony on the 71st birth anniversary of late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The photo is being shared to take a dig at Gandhi, with text which says that he is busy "playing with young girls wearing henna" during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tamil Nadu state president for IT and Social Media CTR Nirmal Kumar also shared the viral claim on Twitter, but later took it down, saying that he did not intend to "bring anybody’s personal life to public (sic)."
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Using reverse image search on Google, we came across an article by Deccan Chronicle, published on 21 August 2015, which carried multiple photographs of the same young woman, identifying her as one Miraya Vadra – Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Robert Vadra's daughter.
We looked up both their names together and came across a set of photographs on Getty Images. Here, we came across one photograph that closely resembled the one in the claim.
According to the photo's caption, it was taken on 20 August 2015 in New Delhi. The caption reads –
"Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with his niece Miraya Vadra during a remembrance ceremony for the 71st birth anniversary of the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at Veer Bhumi on August 20, 2015 in New Delhi, India."
Here, we can also see former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in attendance, while Miraya Vadra's father Robert sits behind her.
The stock images website had more photos showing Miraya in the same outfit, around her family members, including her mother and uncle.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra began on 7 September and is yet to finish its Kerala leg. Hence, this photograph could not be taken at the yatra.
Evidently, this photo is not linked to the Bharat Jodo Yatra and shows Gandhi with his niece, Miraya Vadra.