Did Arvind Kejriwal celebrate his birthday after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s death?

“Right after Atal ji’s death in the evening, Kejriwal celebrated his birthday,” reads a post by Facebook page Yogi Adityanath – True Indian, following the death of former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The text, accompanied by a photograph of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal cutting a cake, was posted at 8:30 PM on August 16 and has been shared by over 10,000 people. It bears several comments condemning the CM’s “insensitivity”.

सड़ा हुआ आम आदमी

Posted by Yogi Adityanath – True Indian on Thursday, 16 August 2018

“Impudence itself has more shame than Kejriwal,” reads another post shared by Facebook page I Support Namo that has a following of over 1.5 crores. Kejriwal’s image shared by the page on the night of August 16 attracted over 11,000 likes and 6,700 shares.

बेशर्मी भी जिनसे शर्मा जाए वो है केजरीवाल…

Posted by I Support Narendra Modi on Thursday, 16 August 2018

Facebook page ModiNama posted the image as well and it was shared over 5,500 times. But the photograph of Kejriwal cutting a cake is not limited to Facebook; it is widespread on Twitter as well. A handle @AMIT_GUJJU, followed by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s office, shared Kejriwal’s image juxtaposed with an ABP News tweet, which said that the CM cancelled his birthday celebrations.

Several individual users too circulated the image, claiming that Kejriwal was busy with celebrations at a time of grief.

A website called “Actual News” wrote an article on Kejriwal’s alleged hypocrisy and insensitivity. “Despite the sombre news of Atal ji’s demise, Kejriwal did not shy away from celebrating his birthday with immense pomp and joy (translated),” reads an excerpt from the article.

Kejriwal did not celebrate his birthday after former PM Vajpayee’s death

Social media strategist of AAP Ankit Lal tweeted on the night of August 16 that a photograph of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal taken in the morning and was being circulated as him cutting the cake in the evening to portray him as celebrating his birthday after Vajpayee’s demise.

To verify Ankit Lal’s claim, we looked for other images taken during the event and stumbled upon one that was taken from a different angle. A wall clock and a wristwatch are clearly visible in the photograph and upon careful observation, one can also tell the time. Both read a little past 11 AM. The announcement of Vajpayee’s demise was made after 5 PM, hence, Kejriwal could not have been celebrating his birthday after the former PM’s death.

The official Twitter handle of Aam Aadmi Party posted a video of the Chief Minister at 12:09 PM where he can be heard saying, “Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee is admitted at AIIMS hospital in critical condition. At such circumstance, I do not feel like celebrating too much.” Addressing the crowd of party workers, the CM then says that he along with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia will visit Vajpayee at AIIMS following the address.

There were also several media reports that reported Kejriwal cancelled his birthday celebrations in view of the former PM’s deteriorating health. ABP News tweeted the same at 12:56 PM on August 16.

An article published by The Indian Express that same day at 1:50 PM reported that “the Chief Minister along with his Deputy Manish Sisodia visited All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) this morning to inquire about Vajpayee’s health.”

The aforementioned sequence of events clearly shows that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal did not celebrate his birthday after former Prime Minister Vajpayee’s death. He cut a cake at around 11 AM, announced an hour later that he does not wish the celebrations to proceed and visited Vajpayee at AIIMS between 1 to 2 PM.

It is commonplace for narratives to be manufactured on social media for political one-upmanship. Unverified information on social media, especially related to an emotionally-charged affair, should always be double-checked.

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