“अगर मोदी जी सही समय पर PM नहीं बनते तो कांग्रेस भारत को बर्बाद कर देती। “(If Modi ji had not become PM at the right time, Congress would have destroyed India- translated). These are apparently the words of former President Pranab Mukherjee, according to a Facebook page बार बार मोदी सरकार (Baar Baar Modi Sarkar) which has shared this quotation along with the words “क्या आप प्रणब मुख़र्जी की बात से सहमत हैं?” (Do you agree with Pranab Mukherjee?) The quote has been shared more than 2500 times since it was posted on June 22.
It has also been posted by individual users on the social media platform. Most of these posts are from May 2018.
Searching online for this quotation, we found that the Oriental Times website had published an article around this quote on May 27, 2018.
“False and baseless”
Alt News contacted the office of the former President. In a clarification, the office of Pranab Mukherjee stated, “The statement attributed to him is false and baseless. He has never said anything of this sort.”
Pranab Mukherjee is a favourite of the right-wing fake news machinery on social media. In the last few weeks and months, the former President’s name has been used to spread fake quotes in which he severely berates the Congress Party. Consider the following instances:
1. PostCard News shares fake extract from Mukherjee’s book
“After PM Modi completed one year of his term in office, I praised him for the work done so far, on which Sonia Gandhi took umbrage and became angry…” The Facebook page of the fake news website, Postcard News posted this excerpt from former President’s book that expressed his admiration for PM Modi and displeasure with Sonia Gandhi. This extract turned out to be fake. Mukherjee’s latest book The Coalition Years chronicled events from 2004 to 2012, before Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister.
2. Photoshopped image of Mukherjee at RSS event
When Pranab Mukherjee attended an RSS event at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, a photograph emerged on social media showing him in the trademark RSS cap and doing the traditional RSS salutation.
Alt News found that the photoshopped picture was the handiwork of a social media user who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter.
3. “Sonia Gandhi hates Hindus”
Numerous fake quotations have been attributed to Mukherjee in recent times. “Sonia Gandhi hates Hindus”, “I am not a slave like Manmohan Singh”, “Congress perceived as anti-national outfit, will be finished in 2019”, etc. are a few examples, all of which are patently fake.
Most of the fake quotations ascribed to Mukherjee are falsely claimed to be from the books he has penned. However, this particular quote was simply conjured up and betrays a conscious and clear attempt to portray the former President as sympathetic to the cause of the BJP/RSS.