“Amit Shah never flies in chartered planes, doesn’t stay at hotels rather prefers party workers home,” claimed the headline of Financial Express story about the simple lifestyle of BJP President. “Never” is a strong word. Let us fact check this story.

Like the headline, the rest of the article also fawns over Shah, “Amit Shah chooses not to travel by planes, except during poll campaigns. The Bharatiya Janata Party generally takes commercial flights. The surprising fact is that even when Amit Shah travels to distant regions such as Leh or the Northeast, he takes the Pawan Hans choppers, that operate in the region, along with other passengers. The simplicity of the BJP chief doesn’t end here. Even when he is on official trips, Shah doesn’t check in to hotels instead prefers to stay in the homes of the party workers. These facts might surprise a few people thinking why such an important person lives such a simple life.”

Yes, these “facts” surprised us, but what surprised us more was that it was a leading national business paper like Financial Express that chose to bring them to us.

Google search is a wonderful tool. Simple to use, yet so many don’t do it before making outlandish claims.  If Financial Express had done this basic due diligence, they would have been saved the embarrassment. The article claims he “never” travels by chartered planes and chooses not to travel by planes except during poll campaigns.

1. Earlier this year, in February, Rahul Kanwal posted pictures of his exclusive interview with Amit Shah. The pictures show Shah and Kanwal sitting across each other in a private jet.

2. In March 2017, a special chartered flight with Amit Shah and Venkaiah Naidu on way to Imphal for Biren Singh’s swearing-in ceremony developed a snag and had to return to New Delhi.

3. Also in March 2017, Modi and Shah were in Somnath. As per news reports, “BJP chief arrived in the state on a 10-seater chartered plane from Varanasi”

4. Moving on to helicopters, watch a video of Shah going to Haridwar in a helicopter.

5. In 2016, at a time when India is reeling under severe drought conditions, media reported thousands of litres of water was used to damp a helipad for Shah’s helicopter landing in Haryana.

6. Last month a helicopter carrying Shah landed at a temporary helipad on the premises of the Tiruvannamalai Government Arts College. Shah was in the city as part of his country-wide tour.  None of these sound like “Pawan Hans helicopters with other passengers” as Financial Express would like us to believe.

7. Speaking of hotels, here are pictures from Amit Shah’s stay at Taj Bengaluru. If we are to believe Financial Express, this may be because there are no volunteers in the city.

8. PR Ramesh who is considered close to BJP described Amit Shah’s hotel in an article of his, “The hotel in Muzaffarnagar where Amit Anilchandra Shah is staying tonight has several oversized chairs in the reception, an indication of the kind of visitors he is expecting.

The above is only a small selection of recent instances. For more, please do your own Google search

Amit Shah is an important man. As BJP President he maintains a hectic travel schedule. While he may maintain a simple lifestyle, there will always be instances where the situation demands him to travel by private jets or helicopters or stay in a hotel. No one will grudge him when he does so. Wonder why Financial Express feels the need to build a false narrative around Amit Shah’s travel? Needless to say, the article has been widely shared among the target audience of cheerleaders and WhatsApp groups who are most inclined to believe such claims.

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