The official Twitter handle of BJP Bihar shared purported before and after pictures of a stretch of road to depict infrastructural development achieved by the state government in the last five years. While the image on the top showed a damaged road with potholes, the one on the bottom portrayed a newly made road that BJP claimed was built in remote villages. The party tweeted the photographs with the hashtag #5YearChallenge. The images were captioned as – “देखिए पाँच सालों में क्या बदला! तब: अच्छी सड़कें महानगरों तक ही सीमित थी। अब: सुदूर गाँवों में भी सड़कों का निर्माण हो रहा है।
#RiseOfNewIndia (Look what has changed in five years. Then: Good roads were limited to metros. Now: Roads are being constructed even in remote villages. #RiseOfNewIndia)”
BJP Bihar also posted the images on its official Facebook page. The identical claim was floated by the state’s agriculture minister Dr Prem Kumar as well.
What is the truth?
Upon reverse-searching the images, Alt News found that the one on the top depicted a stretch of road in Bangalore. Deccan Herald had uploaded the image and also credited it to photographer Satish B. It was shot in 2016.
While we were unable to exactly locate the image at the bottom, we were able to find that it existed on the internet at least as far back as 2009. It was posted on a forum of car enthusiasts called Team-BHP and described as – “Four laning of stretch between Thirumangalam and Virudhunagar (NH7).”
Many other websites have used the same image through the years, including The Indian Express in a 2013 report.
If the image was available online 10 years ago, it cannot possibly depict a newly constructed road last year. BJP Bihar’s claim that the road was built in 2018 at remote corners of the state does not stand up to the scrutiny of facts.
With the internet partaking in the #10YearChallenge, BJP has been attempting to showcase its work through its own #5YearChallenge. The party was, however, found to be using misleading images to portray infrastructural projects completed under its governance. Earlier, Alt News found that images of Agra-Lucknow and Delhi-Meerut Expressways were used as the Western Peripheral Expressway by at least 20 handles of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.