Indian politics has been a hardball game for leaders, who are constantly under the lens and scrutiny. Political leaders often find ways to target members in the opposition party, especially when there's an election on the horizon. It appears Congress leader Rahul Gandhi might just be the latest target after his sea dive with fishermen in Kerala went viral.
From Rahul Gandhi's "abs of a boxer" to his impromptu jump into the sea to connect with the fishermen and even toiling for the morning catch in the Arabian sea. For most, this act of Gandhi did not raise red flags, except for a few who cried foul.
Several media reports and Twitter users claimed that Gandhi's participation in the fishing exercise in poll-bound Kerala was nothing but a PR stunt. It also includes the impromptu dive into the Arabian sea, where the Congress leader was seen swimming for at least 10 minutes with the fishermen.
Soon after videos and photos of Gandhi's participation in the fishing exercise went viral, there were speculations about Congress paying Rs 30,000 to fishermen to stage the dive. Some media reports even quoted fishermen, who reportedly were eyewitnesses, as saying that the whole event was staged.
International Business Times reviewed the claims and found contradictory evidence. The various reports only revealed fishermen's first names without any way to verify the authenticity of the statements made against Gandhi. The only other report that raised speculations was a Malayalam newspaper and there was no solid evidence to back the claim.
Adding more weightage, the Kerala-based fishing vlogger who shot Rahul Gandhi's recent dive and swim in the Arabian Sea also commented on the event. Sebin Cyriac told media that none of it was pre-planned.
"He suddenly handed over his mask and phone to a fisherman and jumped straight into the water. Only a skilled and confident diver can jump into cold water like that...without a lifeguard and any other assistance," Cyriac was quoted as saying.
International Business Times, after reviewing this evidence, has arrived at the conclusion that speculations about Gandhi's sea dive was not staged.