A video clip showing Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi apparently dozing off momentarily in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday when the party was heatedly raising the anti-Dalit violence in Gujarat had the party on the defensive.
The video clip, which showed Rahul Gandhi resting his head on his right hand, with eyes apparently shut, went viral on social networking sites.
In fact, Gandhi's momentary shut-eye occurred when Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and other Congress members were loudly protesting Home Minister Rajnath Singh's response to the members' queries on the violence on Dalits in Una, Gujarat.
Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury sought to give a clarification on the party Vice-President's alleged nap, saying he was just "resting his eyes".
"(He) wasn't sleeping. Can anyone sleep through that ruckus? We (MPs) just close our eyes for relief," Chowdhury said.
Kharge defending Rahul Gandhi said: "He was not sleeping. It is very immature to say this. They are purposely spreading rumours to tarnish his image. This is a lie. We were all present there, were discussing issues."
Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister and BJP leader Thawarchand Gehlot, however, later took a potshot at the Congress over the episode.
"We have been saying that they are not serious about issues related to Dalits and their welfare. They are raising this issue only to draw political mileage. And this episode proves this," he said.