Petrol has gone up to 80 rupees per kg, and the government has no concern about the public !!” BJP MP Paresh Rawal has posted a screenshot of a tweet on his Twitter timeline and it is being attributed to Congress President Rahul Gandhi. The per kg phrase is circled to stress on the fact that liquids are usually measured by volume and not by weight and Mr Gandhi quoting the price of the petrol in terms of kilograms shows his ignorance about the issue. Did the Congress President make such a faux pas?

Firstly, this tweet doesn’t exist on the Congress President’s Twitter timeline. So, if he tweeted this, he could have deleted it, or this is a morphed tweet which Gandhi never tweeted. To figure out the authenticity of the tweet, we tried checking if the tweet has any abnormalities. We took a screenshot of Gandhi’s tweet on fuel price rise and compared it to the screenshot that is viral on social media. We added a red coloured guideline on the left-hand side of both the screenshots to check text-alignment. The screenshots can be seen below.

Screenshot taken from Congress President’s timeline, red guideline was added.
Screenshot taken from Paresh Rawal’s timeline, red coloured guideline added.

In the first screenshot, it is visible that the display picture in the tweet, the text of the tweet and the timestamp at the bottom of the tweet are all perfectly aligned to the left along one straight line. However, in case of the screenshot put out by Paresh Rawal, there’s no alignment of the display picture and the text and the red guideline passes through the display picture. This shows that the tweet put out by Rawal is a morphed tweet.

The alignment of text, time and display picture can also been seen in the tweet below of PM Modi.

It is clear that Rawal has fallen for a morphed tweet that was viral on social media. This is not the first time Rawal has circulated false information via his Twitter account.

Recently, Alt News looked into certain quotes praising PM Modi that Rawal had circulated on social media.

Alt News wrote to all the people who have been quoted in the above image. Oxford VC Louise Rirchardson and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim both confirmed that they had never used the words shown in the screenshot above. While we are still awaiting a response from Bill Gates, the text of the tweet shown above attributed to Gates wasn’t reported by any news media.

In May 2017, actor and Rawal courted controversy by suggesting the Indian Army should tie Arundhati Roy to a jeep, in a reference to the incident wherein a Kashmiri protester had been tied to the front of an army jeep as a ‘human shield’ to avoid stone-pelting by Kashmiri citizens.

Rawal had claimed that his tweet was in response to reports carried in the Pakistani media that Roy had criticised the Indian Army. Later, it turned out that these reports were untrue. Rawal had later deleted the tweet but remained unapologetic. His tweet attributing a fake quote to Arundhati Roy still exists on his timeline.

In the aftermath of Gauri Lankesh’s murder, Rawal had also claimed on Twitter that Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who was martyred during the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks was not given a 21 gun salute.

However, it was reported by multiple news media outlets that Major Unnikrishnan was cremated with a 21-gun salute in Bengaluru in November 2008.

When caught, he claimed that he was being sarcastic.

When a Member of Parliament routinely broadcasts misinformation to his 2.4 million followers on Twitter, then that is a matter of much concern. In case of Mr Rawal, he also remains defiant and unapologetic when his mistakes are pointed out. We are not sure if his own credibility matters to him, but he should do well to remember the he’s a representative of the people and is expected to act in a more rational and dignified manner.

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