Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has responded to the row over a viral video in which he is seen feeding biscuits to a puppy during his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Jharkhand. The video showed Mr Gandhi petting a puppy and then feeding it biscuits. At one point, the puppy refuses to eat and Mr Gandhi then gives the biscuits to a supporter speaking to him. The BJP had targeted the Congress leader over the video, alleging that he treats his supporters like dogs.
Mr Gandhi has now said that the man in the video is actually the dog’s owner. “The dog was nervous, shivering and when I tried to feed it, it got scared. So I gave biscuits to the dog’s owner and the dog ate them from his hand. I don’t understand what’s the issue,” he said during a media interaction, a video of which was shared by news agency ANI.
#WATCH | On the viral video of him feeding a dog during the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says, “…I called the dog and the owner. The dog was nervous, shivering and when I tried to feed it, the dog got scared. So I gave biscuits to the dog’s owner and… pic.twitter.com/QhO6QvfyNB
— ANI (@ANI) February 6, 2024
Asked about the BJP’s allegations that claimed that the man in the video was a Congress worker, he replied, “No, he was not a Congress worker. I don’t understand the BJP’s obsession with dogs. How have dogs harmed them?”
Pallavi ji, not only Rahul Gandhi but the entire family could not make me eat that biscuit. I am a proud Assamese and Indian . I refused to eat and resign from the Congress. https://t.co/ywumO3iuBr
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) February 5, 2024
Earlier, several BJP leaders targeted the Congress MP over the viral video. Among them was Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Mr Sarma, who was earlier in the Congress, has often narrated an incident, in which he and other senior Congress leaders had visited Mr Gandhi for a meeting. During the meeting, he says, Mr Gandhi’s pet dog Pidi ate biscuits from a plate. The Congress leaders were then offered biscuits from the same plate, Mr Sarma has claimed in multiple interviews. During these interviews, Mr Sarma has used the alleged incident to bolster his claim that Mr Gandhi is not serious about key party matters. He has also said he left the Congress soon after.
Responding to an ‘X’ user, who had tagged him on the puppy video, Mr Sarma doubled down on his charge. He said “not only Rahul Gandhi but the entire family could not make me eat that biscuit”. “I am a proud Assamese and Indian. I refused to eat and resign from the Congress,” he said.
Another BJP leader, Amit Malviya, said “it is natural for a party to become extinct when its prince behaves treats party workers like dogs”.