Hyderabad: A video clip of Indian National Congress (INC) leader Rahul Gandhi speaking of Mahatma Gandhi and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat's stand on women is circulating on social media.
Rahul can be heard saying, "You must have seen photos of Gandhiji (Mahatma Gandhi) where three-four women always accompany him. But have you seen Mohan Bhagwat's photo with any woman? Have you ever seen it? It cannot happen!"
It is being claimed that Rahul Gandhi defamed Mahatma Gandhi and called him a womanizer.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra shared the clip and tweeted, "If he had read the diaries and interviews of Manuben, Sarla Devi, Abha, Sushila, and other women who lived around Mahatma Gandhi, perhaps Rahul Gandhi would not have said what he said today. Maybe Gandhi does not want to hide, but the Congress has hidden a lot." (archive)
Asianet Newsable and Shiv Aroor, the executive editor of India Today, also shared the clip. (archive can be viewed here and here)
The claim that Rahul Gandhi defamed Mahatma Gandhi is false.
NewsMeter found the extended version of the viral clip on the YouTube channel of INC. The video is titled "Shri Rahul Gandhi addresses Mahila Congress Foundation Day". The viral clip can be seen between the 17:50-18:15 mark.
In the extended version, Rahul says, "You must have seen photos of Gandhiji (Mahatma Gandhi) where three-four women always accompany him. But have you seen Mohan Bhagwat's photo with any woman? Have you ever seen it? It cannot happen because his organization (RSS) suppresses women, it crushes them. But our organization gives a platform to female empowerment."
Rahul Gandhi, hence, was not defaming Mahatma Gandhi but was taking a dig at RSS for suppressing women.
The same video was uploaded on the Facebook page of INC.
In response to Shiv Aroor's tweet, Siddharth Sharma, a journalist at Asian News International (ANI), wrote, "I was present and Covering the Event, This is Completely out of Context What You are Presenting through this Edited Video Mr @ShivAroor."
Later, Aroor shared the extended video and wrote, "Had quote tweeted a clip from @AsianetNewsEN yesterday. Here's the full video comment which begins with that clip:"
Rahul Gandhi, during his public address at the Mahila Congress Foundation Day, did not defame Mahatma Gandhi. The viral clip has been taken out of context. Hence, the claim is false.