Delhi BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga tweeted a picture on September 25, 2021 where Rahul Gandhi is seen addressing a press conference. A man encircled in the background in the image is being claimed to be BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. Bagga remarked Swamy has joined the Congress party. (Archive link)

Several other Twitter users also shared this picture with the same claim. (Link 1, Link 2)

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Alt News performed a reverse image search and found the photo on Getty Images, where it is dated December 10, 2018. According to the caption, a meeting between members of the opposition parties was held in New Delhi on December 10, 2018. This was followed by Rahul Gandhi holding a press conference. Hindustan Times photographer Arvind Yadav captured this photo. ANI had also tweeted about this meeting.

After a closer look at the original image, we found that the encircled man was wearing spectacles. However, Subramanian Swamy is rarely seen sporting spectacles in public. Even though this individual resembles the BJP leader from a distance, zooming into the image confirms that he is not Swamy.

Alt News reached out to Congress communication in-charge Pranav Jha for more information. “The person seen in the picture is not Subramanian Swamy, but Manish Chatrath. He is a representative in charge of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.

We also got in touch with Chatrath himself, who confirmed that it was him in the photo.

India Today and Boomive have also published fact-check reports debunking the viral claim.

On August 14, 2021, Swamy tweeted that he was against the Modi government’s economic and foreign policies. He stated further in the post that PM Modi was not the king of India, drawing widespread opposition from party supporters.

To sum it up, a photo from a press conference held by opposition parties was shared with the false claim that Subramanian Swamy had joined the Congress. The man in the photo is actually Congress leader Manish Chatrath.

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About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.