The Congress on Friday posed a challenge to “haters” of Rahul Gandhi, currently on a yatra to Kailash Mansarovar, and asked whether they can “keep up” with him after union minister Giriraj Singh mocked at pictures of him with some pilgrims and called it “photo-shopped”.
BJP’s Mahila wing national in-charge of social media Priti Gandhi and Akali leader and legislator in Delhi Manjinder Singh Sirsa also poked fun of Gandhi over his pictures.
The Congress later posted on Twitter a picture of a smiling Gandhi posing in front of Mount Kailash, considered the abode of Lord Shiva, along with details of his trekking details compiled by popular fitness mobile app ‘fitbit’.
The fitbit data showed Gandhi having travelled 46,433 steps, 203 floors, 34.31 kms over 463 minutes, while burning 4,466 calories.
“Leaving all the haters behind, Congress President Rahul Gandhi sets the pace during his Kailash Yatra. Can you keep up?” the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.
“These are Photoshopped. The reflection of the stick is missing,” Singh had earlier tweeted, along with a picture of Gandhi will a fellow pilgrim also on the Kailash Yatra.
Sirsa accused Gandhi of “stealing” the picture from Google and said people will not forgive him for speaking a “lie” even on Kailash Yatra.
“Have seen many who read their speeches written on a page, but have seen for the first time a pilgrim who picks up pictures from Google.
“Fake ‘Janeyu-dhari’ Rahul Gandhi has spoken a lie even on the Kailash Yatra. People will not fogive him,” he tweeted.
Priti Gandhi asked the Congress president whether he was downloading pictures from the internet and tweeting them.
“Rahul Gandhi, Are you downloading pictures from the internet and tweeting? Are you really at Mansarovar or some place else?,” she tweeted, while showing similar pictures tweeted by Gandhi available on Google images. Her post was retweeted by BJP’s social media incharge Amit Malviya.
Hitting back at Singh, Congress spokesperson RPN Singh said the minister has not done anything worthwhile to show to the people and is thus making these kind of statements “only to remain in the headlines”.
“It is unfortunate that the minister without any information is tweeting like this, as he has been doing for the last 4.5 years. He tweets like this to remain in the news. I feel Rahul Gandhi ji is very fortunate to have undertaken the Kailash Yatra as it is done only when the call from Lord Shiva comes.
“Gandhi is the among the first front-rung leaders of the country to have undertaken the arduous Yatra. Issues of faith should not be linked to politics,” he said.
The Congress leader also attacked the BJP for using religion for political gains but said they do not understand the true meaning of the Hindu religion.
Gandhi is expected to be back from his Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by end of this week.
The Congress chief also tweeted a video of the hills on his official Twitter handle and said, “Shiva is the Universe”.
On Thursday as well, Gandhi had posted a picture of Mount Kailash, saying, “It is so humbling to be walking in the shadow of this giant.”
He had earlier put out pictures of the “tranquil and calm” waters of the lake and said there “is no hatred here”.
“The waters of lake Mansarovar are so gentle, tranquil and calm. They give everything and lose nothing. Anyone can drink from them. There is no hatred here. This is why we worship these waters in India,” he had said on Twitter.
The 48-year-old leader is undertaking the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra in accordance with a wish he expressed in April when his plane plunged hundreds of feet during the campaign for the Karnataka polls.
On April 26, the plane carrying Gandhi and some others from Delhi to Hubballi airport in Karnataka developed a technical problem and tilted heavily on the left side. The plane dipped steeply with violent shuddering, but soon recovered and landed safely.
Three days later, on April 29, Gandhi announced during a rally that he wanted to undertake the pilgrimage.
The arduous pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, which is considered the abode of Lord Shiva in Hindu mythology and is in the Tibetan Himalayas, is organised every year between June and September.
Gandhi left the national capital on August 31 for the yatra.