Arun Reddy, the social media coordinator of the All India National Congress Committee, tweeted a screengrab taken from the Times Now news channel on September 26. The image features a graphic containing figures for ‘public sentiment’ toward some of the prominent leaders in Indian politics. It contains a comparison of the numbers for key individuals like Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Among them, according to the graphic, Rahul Gandhi leads the pack with 66%. On the other hand, Narendra Modi is seen in the second position with 15%. The image also shows former Times Now anchor Anand Narasimhan as the host of the show. This screenshot is being shared in praise of Rahul Gandhi.
It is worth noting that this picture is being shared in the context of Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra‘, which began from Kanyakumari on September 7. As part of this initiative, several Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, will campaign for the party across the country. The yatra will conclude in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar after 150 days. However, the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ has been targeted by the opposition since it was kicked off. Readers can find related reports here.
The Rajasthan Youth Congress tweeted the image while praising Rahul Gandhi. (Archived link)
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also retweeted the photo, amplified by Twitter handle ‘@CSBSiinm’.
Twitter handle ‘@UnitedWithINC’ also amplified the image. (Archived link)
Burnol moment for Bhakt’s#BharatJodoYatra pic.twitter.com/r8dmfcCD8Z
— India Against Hate (@UnitedWithINC) September 27, 2022
The screenshot is also widespread on Facebook.
It is worth noting that the anchor seen in the screenshot is Anand Narasimhan, who was formerly with Times Now channel. He is currently a senior anchor at News18. Hence, we suspected that the screengrab might be out of date.
Next, Alt News performed a reverse image search, which led us to a Times of India article dated December 19, 2017. The report, which also carries footage from Times Now, covers the 2017 Assembly elections held in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. In the video, anchor Anand Narasimhan explains that most of the conversations about Rahul Gandhi are happening on social media. At the same time, 15 percent of people are talking about Prime Minister Modi on social media. The other leaders who appear on the screen are Hardik Patel, former Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani.
A side by side comparison of the viral image and original screengrab is given below. The differences between the two are clear.
The Times of India uploaded the video of this broadcast to YouTube on December 18, 2017. The video report discusses the results of the 2017 Assembly polls held in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
The results of the 2017 Assembly elections in Gujarat were declared on December 18, 2017. The BJP secured 99 seats, whereas the Congress won 77 seats. The results of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections were also released on the same day, in which the BJP won 44 seats, and the number of seats that the Congress got was 21.
To sum it up, a screengrab of a Times Now broadcast from the 2017 Gujarat-Himachal Assembly elections was edited and falsely shared as recent. Many Congress supporters shared it in praise of Rahul Gandhi.
Update: The detail about the image being doctored has been added to this article later.
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