“I wonder to understand why go on aerial survey when you all you want to do is read newspapers,” tweeted Balaji Srinivas, a user who describes himself as a “swayamsevak” and state convenor for BJP Karnataka social media cell in his twitter bio. He shared a video of Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy during an aerial survey of recent Karnataka floods where the CM can be seen reading a newspaper. Srinivas claimed that this is “all that Kumaraswamy did”. He also shared the video from his Facebook account, bringing the combined share count to over 9,000.

Among the prominent individuals who retweeted Srinivas’ tweet was ANI editor Smita Prakash, ABP News editor Pankaj Jha and Sudarshan News CMD and editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke.

Even as Kerala is battling devastating floods, at least eight people have died in neighbouring Karnataka in a similar situation. CM Kumaraswamy conducted two aerial surveys in Kodagu, the worst-hit district in the state.

Several BJP members, including BJP MLA Shobha Karandlaje and former four-time BJP legislator C.T Ravi, also circulated the aerial survey video of Kumaraswamy, insinuating the Chief Minister’s nonchalance toward flood victims (1,2,3, 4).

It was also circulated by Twitter handle @DrGPradhan, who is followed by top BJP leaders, including the PM. His tweet was retweeted nearly 2,000 times.

Misleading information

As this was Kumaraswamy’s second survey that lasted for more than an hour, there are many other clips of him surveying flood-affected areas during the journey. However, one video was selectively circulated to mislead people.

Deccan Herald tweeted a video of the Chief Minister where he can be spotted surveying rain-hit Kodagu district.

Another video of H.D. Kumaraswamy’s aerial survey was uploaded by Mirror Now journalist Atul Chaturvedi.

In another video, when Kumaraswamy was en-route Madikeri district, personnel accompanying the CM can be heard saying that the chopper is four miles away and the weather ahead is turbulent.

ANI also tweeted a couple of images where he can be seen in the chopper, surveying flood-stricken lands.

Considering that the video of Kumaraswamy reading the newspaper was shot from within the helicopter, it was most likely taken by personnel accompanying the CM when they were en route to the destination. With other videos and imagery available in which the CM can be seen surveying flood-affected locations, the claims in the viral video are unsubstantiated and misleading.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.