National secretary of Congress student wing NSUI, Roshan Lal Bittu, tweeted a photo of AIMIM head Asaduddin Owaisi with Union Minister Smriti Irani and wrote, “Internal Meeting of RSS Propaganda cell”. He further said that Owaisi is the biggest ally of the BJP after Anna Hazare.

The photo has also been shared on Facebook.

Asaduddin Owaisi with Smriti Irani in UP.
After Bihar and West Bengal, unofficial leader of BJP, Asaduddin Owaisi, arrives in Uttar Pradesh to help BJP win Election.

Posted by Kanwal Chadha on Tuesday, 7 September 2021

The same picture was circulated last year in December during the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election. Telangana Coordinator of With Congress (the online arm of Congress volunteers) shared the image and wrote, “Owaisi met Smriti Irani. Owaisi asks people to vote for BJP in Lok Sabha elections,” with the hashtag #GHMCElections2020. Alt News has found @SpiritOfCongres spreading false information in the past.

Twitter user @WuntakalL also shared this image and wrote, “What is this?”. Her post was shared by more than 500 people and received more than 2,400 likes. (Archive link)

Another Twitter user wrote, “Owaisi: Madam I have fielded candidates in 50 seats only as you suggested. Smriti Irani: Well done, I will help you win those 50 seats and you help us win the remaining 100.” (Archive link)

Several other users have made the same claim. Alt News also received requests to fact-check the photo on our Whatsapp number (+917600011160) and mobile application recently and back in December as well.

Old photo

When we performed a keyword search on Facebook, we came across a post by user Saujanya Singh in which Irani and Owaisi are seen together. It was uploaded on August 25, 2016. This photo has been taken from a different angle than the viral image, but comparing the two side by side confirms that they were taken on the same occasion.

Owaisi bhakt kahenge ki koi meeting karne gaya tha Smriti Irani k saath. Par baat kuch aur hai. Chunav me vote ka batwara.

Posted by सौजन्या सिंह on Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Next, a keyword search on Google led us to a tweet by Owaisi dated August 10, 2016. In this tweet, he wrote about a meeting he had with Smriti Irani, then Textile Minister, on issues related to the power loom sector in Maharashtra and the rest of the country. He also shared pictures of the documents presented in this meeting.

He tweeted two other photos from this dialogue. Both confirm that Smriti Irani was present there as she can be seen in the background. Furthermore, the two leaders are seen in the same clothes as in the viral picture.

Apart from this, when we examined Owaisi’s August 2016 tweets using an advanced search on Twitter, we noticed that he had quote-tweeted another user and called out the claim that AIMIM and BJP were in alliance.

Hindi news portal Patrika also covered this meeting in an article dated August 27, 2016.

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A journalist and a dilettante person who always strives to learn new skills and meeting new people. Either sketching or working.