Multiple social media accounts of the Indian National Congress (INC) have shared a graphic that consists of an image of women taking a selfie in front of pink buses. The text on the graphic claims that Congress will bring free bus services for women if it is elected to power. The posts have been shared with hashtag #111CongressDubara (111CongressAgain) which is related to the upcoming elections in Punjab. Chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi held office for 111 days before the polls scheduled in February and after Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation.

The post was shared by Facebook and Twitter accounts of INC Bihar (1, 2) and Himachal Pradesh Congress Sevadal (1, 2).

Congress members Saurabh Sinha and Thakor Bhavinsinh also posted this claim.

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Image of free bus service in BJP-ruled Assam

Alt News performed a reverse image search using InVID on Microsoft’s Bing. This led us to a January 2021 report by India.com. As per this report, the image is from Assam. The report states, “In a bid to provide free transport service for women and senior citizens, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off 25 buses exclusively for women and senior citizens to travel within the city of Guwahati.” It is worth noting that the Assam government is led by the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and not INC.

In the same month, Assam chief minister tweeted about this project as well.

This scheme is a part of the Bhraman Sarathi Scheme first presented in the 2020-2021 Assam State Budget on March 6, 2020, by the ex-finance minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma. Under this scheme, women and senior citizens can get the benefit of free bus journeys in specified routes within Guwahati.

Readers should note that the INC-led Punjab government also introduced a similar scheme in March 2021.

To sum it up, Congress used images of a free bus service initiative by the BJP-led Assam government as an initiative that Congress will bring upon its election in Punjab.

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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.