Speaking at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Janaspandana programme in Bengaluru on Saturday, 10 September, Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of not paying tribute to Swami Vivekananda while launching the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in Kanyakumari.
This claim comes as Gandhi is on a yatra that was launched on 7 September, in which he is going to cover 11 states and two Union Territories in about five months.
However, we found that the BJP leader's statement was wrong as videos from Congress' official social media handles and news reports state that Gandhi did pay tribute at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari on 7 September, before launching the yatra.
Attacking the Congress party, Irani said that while the prime minister has created a grand statue for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Congress removed Patel's photo from the party's banner.
She then went on to speak about the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' and said, "If you set off from Kanyakumari, you could have at least shown some respect by paying tribute to Swami Vivekananda, but Rahul Gandhi didn't do it because Vivekananda is a national saint and not a member of the Gandhi family."
The comment can be heard from the 13:45 to 14:40 mark in the video below.
WHAT WE FOUND
Rahul Gandhi launched the Bharat Jodo Yatra on 7 September in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari. The 3,570-km yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar is set to cover 11 states and two Union Territories in about five months. The actual march, however, began on 8 September.
We checked Congress party's official social media handles and found videos of Gandhi paying tribute at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial on 7 September.
A tweet published on the official handle of Bharat Jodo Yatra on 7 September said, "Every step taken in the #BharatJodoYatra will reinforce Swami Vivekananda's teachings of universal brotherhood. It is only fitting that Shri Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party seek his blessing before the launch."
The tweet also carried visuals of Gandhi and other Congress leaders at the memorial in Kanyakumari.
It is evident from the visuals that Gandhi did in fact visit the Vivekananda memorial and paid his tributes to Swami Vivekananda before commencing the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra'.
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