Less than seven months after Congress president Rahul Gandhi was targeted by the BJP for allegedly eating chicken before visiting a temple during campaigning for the Karnataka elections, Gandhi's food habits during religious 'pilgrimages' are under the scanner again.
On Tuesday, Amit Malviya, in-charge of the BJP's information technology initiatives, tweeted a news report from an Hindi website, which claimed Gandhi had eaten non-vegetarian food at a restaurant in Nepal's capital Kathmandu, where he had arrived to undertake the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
The link to the website posted by Malviya shows an interview with a waiter who purportedly served Gandhi during his visit to the Vootoo restaurant on August 31. The waiter claims Gandhi ordered 'chicken kurkure' and other items. Writing in Hindi, Malviya claims Gandhi and the Congress are constantly playing with the faith of Hindus.
The Nepalese media had reported about Gandhi supposedly having non-vegetarian food at the restaurant. As curiosity, and controversy, over Gandhi having non-vegetarian food increased, Vootoo put up a post on its official Facebook page, denying the reports.
“There has been plenty of inquiry from the media regarding the food ordered by Rahul Gandhi, President of Indian National Congress during his visit at Vootoo. We would like to clarify that he ordered pure veg items from the menu. Vootoo has not given any statement to any media regarding the food items ordered by him...,” the restaurant said.
Gandhi's decision to undertake the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra had earlier attracted criticism from the BJP, with saffron party spokesman Sambit Patra calling him “Chinese Gandhi” for allegedly speaking in favour of China.
In February, during the campaigning for the Karnataka Assembly elections, BJP state chief B.S. Yeddyurappa alleged Gandhi had eaten Javari chicken before visiting the Narasimhaswamy temple. The BJP had extensively criticised Gandhi's 'temple run' during the Karnataka and Gujarat elections.
During the campaigning for the Gujarat elections in November 2017, Gandhi landed in a controversy after his name was entered in the 'non-Hindu' section of the visitors list to the Somnath temple. The Congress claimed the entry was inadvertent and declared Gandhi was a Hindu and a “Shiv Bhakt”.