A video of a massive procession moving through a road has been making rounds on social media. The video also shows onlookers on rooftops video-recording the rally on their mobile phones. It has been claimed that this is a visual from the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
Congress leader Sandeep Singh tweeted the video as footage of a crowd that gathered in support of Rahul Gandhi. (Archived link)
Congress Mumbai treasurer Bhushan Patil also amplified the video on Twitter and wrote, “Raichur witnessed historic crowds on the final day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Karnataka.” (Archived link)
Salman Aneez Soz of the Congress also promoted the video while linking it to the Bharat Jodo Yatra. (Archived link)
Similarly, Chhattisgarh Congress Seva Dal’s social media state coordinator Manish Tiwari, along with Lutyens Media, user Sreen Shri and several others also shared the clip with the same claim on Twitter.
Alt News performed a reverse image search using frames taken from the viral video. This led us to another clip which had been uploaded to YouTube on October 12, 2022. According to the caption, the video features devotees celebrating the local Pydithalli Sirimanu festival in Andhra Pradesh. The user has also identified the location seen in the visuals as Vizianagaram.
Taking a closer look at the video, we noticed a Sony Electronics outlet in the background. Using the location mentioned in the YouTube video as a clue, we searched for the same Sony Center on Google Maps, and found that it is located on Fort Road in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district.
Alt News examined the YouTube channel of the user who uploaded the aforementioned video and noticed that they had uploaded another video of the same festival.
It is worth noting that the Sony Center seen in the viral clip and Hotel Anand Grand Fort seen in the other video are located at a distance of just 300 m away from one another. Also located nearby is the Sri Sri Sri Pydithalli Ammavari Temple. Pydithalli Srimanu, the festival being celebrated by locals in the video, is associated with this temple.
Next, we translated the related keywords into Telugu using Google Translate and performed a keyword search on Facebook. This led us to an October 11 post on a Facebook page titled Vizianagaram Youth, containing images of the same festival.
After examining the photos in this post closely, we noticed that they closely resemble visuals from the video in question. The Sony Center hoarding, the plants on the road divider, along with the tarp on the roof of the building are seen in both. The similarities can be seen more clearly in the side-by-side comparison given below. This confirms that the viral video cannot be from the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi. This is actually a clip of locals gathered to celebrate Pydithalli Sirimanu, a festival unique to Andhra Pradesh.
Furthermore, the Sirimanotham festival celebrations were held in Andhra Pradesh on October 11, whereas Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra was passing through Karnataka’s Chitradurg district on the same day.
To sum it up, a number of Congress leaders and social media users falsely shared the footage of a large crowd celebrating a local festival in Andhra Pradesh as visuals from the Congress’s ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people contribute towards the same. Please consider donating in support of this endeavour to fight misinformation and disinformation.
To make an instant donation, click on the "Donate Now" button above. For information regarding donation via Bank Transfer/Cheque/DD, click here.