On January 17, the Indian National Congress (INC) shared a 30-second promo video for Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. The video opens with actor Sonu Sood’s comments. He can be heard saying, “The real Chief Minister or King is the one who is forcefully brought to the chair. He should not have to struggle and explain to others that “I am a Chief Ministerial candidate and I deserve [this post]. He should instead be a backbencher who is picked up and told “You deserve this and you should become [the CM]”. Such a person can change the nation.” Sood is trying to convey that a person who has been “chosen”, and not someone who has to explain himself, deserves to become the CM. Right after his bite, a video of CM Channi is played.

Congress drew close to 5 lakh views on the video on Twitter and over 80,000 views on Facebook.

Several Twitter and Facebook users have posted this video, including Jharkhand Pradesh Youth Congress and Indian Youth Congress.

Misleading

A day after Congress and its associated accounts posted this video, senior journalist Barkha Dutt pointed out that the party has lifted a segment of Sonu Sood’s interview uploaded on January 14 on her channel The Mojo Story and shared it in a misleading manner. In a tweet, she pointed out that Sood is not talking about Channi, but himself and his plans to contest elections.

The context is clear once we listen to the statements made by Sonu Sood right before the one used by Congress.

“I have heard that it is only a matter of time before you enter mainstream politics,” says Barkha Dutt, to which Sood replies, “It will take some time…definitely not a “no” and people who know me feel that I am made for that. I also believe that if I enter [politics] .. and whoever I talk to I tell them that if I come, there will be changes that people want. It will just take some time.” Dutt then asks him which political party he will join. Sood says that he doesn’t know, then adds the bit about the ideal candidate which has been picked up by Congress.

Sonu Sood was, therefore, not talking about Punjab Chief Minister and Congress’s candidate for the upcoming polls, Charanjit Singh Channi. He was responding to questions about his plans to join politics. Congress used a clipped portion of his interview and used it in a misleading manner.

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About the Author

Archit is a senior fact-checking journalist at Alt News. Previously, he has worked as a producer at WION and as a reporter at The Hindu. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at S3IDF.