A short clip of chief minister Ashok Gehlot speaking to the media from his car is viral on social media. Responding to a question about various leaders giving statements, he says there should be only one goal since the people of Rajasthan are suffering. Many BJP leaders shared this clip in a way that it seems the Rajasthan chief minister was acknowledging that the public was suffering under his own party’s rule.

BJP MP and former Union information and broadcasting minister Rajyavardhan Rathore tweeted a 16-second video. In it, Gehlot says, “There should be only one goal in front of us right now, the people of Rajasthan are suffering”. The two sentences are repeated three times in the clip. Tweeting the video, Rathore wrote, “Mr. chief minister, the people of Rajasthan are suffering. But the Congress is responsible for this, isn’t it? So who is going to take responsibility for this? You, Sachin Pilot or Rahul Gandhi?” (Archived link)

BJP leader from Rajasthan Laxmikant Bhardwaj tweeted a 26-second video in which Gehlot, quoting Congress general secretary Venugopal, instructs Congress leaders to follow decorum, and not indulge in any rhetoric. He adds that they should only focus on one goal as the people of Rajasthan are suffering. Tweeting this video, Laxmikant Bhardwaj wrote, ‘The chief minister of Rajasthan is saying the people of the state are suffering. Because of whom?” (Archived link)

BJP Andhra Pradesh general secretary Vishnu Vardhan Reddy tweeted the 26-second clip and quoted Ashok Gehlot’s statement. (Archived link)

Several other users also shared the clip without any additional context.

Fact Check

After inspecting the video more closely, Alt News suspected that it had been tampered with. This is because it appears that Ashok Gehlot says something more than what can be heard in the viral clips, but that part has been cropped out.

We examined Ashok Gehlot’s official Twitter handle and found the full-length video from which the viral clip was taken, posted on November 2. In the accompanying text, he says that the Prime Minister had not fulfilled his promise regarding the construction of the ERCP (Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project) in Jaipur and Ajmer. This footage of Gehlot interacting with the media is a little over seven-minute long. After watching the video in its entirety, we can confirm that the video in circulation is being shared out of context with a misleading claim.

Scenes from the viral clip appear in this video at the 5:44 mark onward. Here, a reporter questions Ashok Gehlot about statements given by Congress leaders like Sachin Pilot in the past. Responding to this, the Rajasthan CM says, “In all fairness, such remarks should not be made, because no matter what, Mr. Venugopal is our general secretary, and he said that no one would make any rhetoric. We want everyone to maintain discipline. We should only focus on one goal since the people of Rajasthan are suffering; people of the whole country are suffering. There is tension, violence, inflation, unemployment. On the one hand, Rahul Gandhi is out on the streets putting in great effort toward this walking 25 kilometers every day. Lakhs of people are walking with him. We want to mount pressure on the central government. After that, our target should be to ensure we form the government next time. This is our goal. We have introduced so many historic schemes in Rajasthan. The whole country is appreciating the schemes we have launched in Rajasthan. The whole world is appreciating our handling and management of COVID-19. Not only this, other countries believe that this superb management by the Rajasthan administration saved the people, whereas so many were killed in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Delhi due to unavailability of oxygen. So we did a great job. Now we have set out on this journey on the back of all the good governance we introduced. Our only goal now is focusing on getting re-elected.”

In other words, Ashok Gehlot spoke not just about the people of Rajasthan, but the entire country. However, that portion was left out to suggest that the chief minister was complaining that the public was suffering under his leadership.

Alt News dug further to ascertain the context of Gehlot’s remarks on giving statements. We found that on November 1, he had shared the stage with Prime Minister Modi at Mangarh in Banswara. Following this, without naming Gehlot, Sachin Pilot remarked that Modi’s praise was an ‘interesting development’. Pilot also alluded to Modi’s appreciation of Ghulam Nabi Azad n the past, who later left the Congress.

To sum it up, several BJP leaders, including a former I&B minister, shared an edited clip of Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s statement to journalists without context. In reality, Ashok Gehlot was not referring to just the people of Rajasthan when he said the public was suffering, but the whole country.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a journalist at Alt News.