Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been repeatedly mocked in the last few years by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and their followers for the infamous ‘potato-gold’ machine remark. A clipped video from Gandhi’s address at a campaign rally in Gujarat during the 2017 assembly electio is used for the purpose. BJP leaders had again shared the video after Congress’s opposition to the farm bills. “Will install such a machine that if a potato is inserted from one end, gold will come out from the other end. (ऐसी मशीन लगाऊंगा इस साइड से आलू घुसेगा उस साइड से सोना निकलेगा.)” This part of Gandhi’s statement is shared time and again.

In response to Alt News Fact Check, a Twitter user posted a 20-second video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 23 with the claim that it was the PM who originally made the ‘potato-gold’ machine remark. In the video, PM Modi can be heard saying, “We have taken the initiative to create clusters for potatoes. A few months ago, we made a big policy related to the export of agricultural produce. I make gold from potato…and the country will get foreign exchange also (आलू के लिए क्लस्टर बनाने का बीड़ा हमने उठाया है. कुछ महीने पहले ही कृषि उत्पादकों को निर्यात करने से जुड़ी हुई एक बड़ी नीति हमने बनायी है. मैं आलू से सोना बनाना… और देश को विदेशी मुद्रा भी मिलेगी.)”

We found that the video was also posted by Telangana Congress co-ordinator in July with the same claim. The tweet garnered over 1,300 likes and 37,000 views. (archive link)

A quick scroll through the comments on the video reveals that people indeed believe PM Modi had originally made the statement.

Swatantra Shukla, who is associated with Uttar Pradesh Congress, also posted the video.

Fact-check

A cursory look at the video makes it evident that it is edited. There are several jump cuts in the video and PM Modi’s sentences seem incomplete. The sentence “I make gold from potatoes…(मैं आलू से सोना बनाना)” is joined with an independent sentence “और देश को विदेशी मुद्रा भी मिलेगी” (the country will also get foreign currency). A keyword search led us to the complete video uploaded on Bharatiya Janata Party’s YouTube channel on April 27, 2019. This is a video of a public speech delivered by PM Modi in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh.

Both the videos – one shared by Congress supporters and the YouTube video on BJP’s channel – start from the same point in his speech. PM Modi can be heard saying, “We have taken the initiative to create clusters for potatoes. A few months ago, we drafted a big policy related to the exports of farmers’ produce. Work is in progress to implement this policy…” It may be noted that after the phrase “we drafted a big policy” the viral video plays the ‘potatoes-gold’ machine remark. However, in the original video, PM Modi says, “Work is in progress to implement this policy.”

 

There is also a jump-cut in the phrase “I make gold from potatoes…” We will explain how several clippings from the full video were merged.

  1. At 58 seconds in the original video, PM Modi can be heard saying, “मैं आलू से सोना नहीं बना सकता. (I cannot make gold from potatoes.)” The word ‘I’ (मैं) has been lifted from this part.
  2. At 1:06 minutes, he says, “जिसका मन करता है आलू से सोना बनाना (Who feels that he wants to make gold from potatoes.)” The phrase “to make gold from potatoes” was lifted from this part.
  3. The part where Modi says, “और देश को विदेशी मुद्रा भी मिलेगी (The country will also get foreign exchange)” can be heard at 1:38 minutes in the original video.

Therefore, a poorly edited video was used to ascribe the remark to PM Modi.

No basis for the statement

It is noteworthy that PM Modi has also falsely attributed the statement to Rahul Gandhi. He said, “In our country, there are such intelligent and bright people who make gold out of potatoes.” In reality, Rahul Gandhi never made such a claim. On November 12, 2017, the Congress leader took a jibe at PM Modi, “A few months ago, there was a flood when (PM Modi) said ‘I will give 500 crores’. He didn’t give a single penny. He told potato farmers that he procure a machine where if you insert a potato from one end, gold will come out from the other end. This is are not my words. These are Modiji’s words.”

Interestingly, there is also no basis for Rahul Gandhi’s statement because there is no public record of Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming such a machine exits. In 2017, video of Gandhi’s ‘potato-gold‘ jibe was clipped and circulated by BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya. And now, Congress supporters have edited a video of PM Modi mocking Gandhi for his statement to claim that it was PM Modi who originally made the remark.

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About the Author

Priyanka Jha specialises in monitoring and researching mis/disinformation at Alt News. She also manages the Alt News Hindi portal.