West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Senior Congress Leader Ghulam Nabi Azad shared the stage with Lalu Prasad Yadav at RJD’s mega rally in Gandhi Maidan in Patna. There was a huge turn out for the rally and all was going well for them till a purported picture of the rally was tweeted from Lalu Prasad Yadav’s personal Twitter account.
— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) August 27, 2017
The grainy, low-resolution picture showed Gandhi Maidan filled to the brim. Many people on social media noticed many flaws in the picture and started pointing it out as response to Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tweet. An hour after Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tweet, ANI tweeted pictures taken from the same vantage point as the one tweeted by Mr Lalu. The pictures tweeted by ANI showed a much smaller crowd.
RJD's Patna rally: Picture taken from same point where Lalu Prasad Yadav's purported picture was taken; crowd sizes are different. pic.twitter.com/3QuEsBlQua
— ANI (@ANI) August 27, 2017
However, the above pictures do not specify the exact timestamp when the pictures were taken. In a rally, the crowd size is different at various points in time. Thus to compare the pictures provided by ANI with the one provided by Mr Lalu would be a poor fact-check. Yet, several websites used the ANI pictures to draw a conclusion that Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav’s picture was photoshopped.
A better fact-check in this case where we do not have pictures with comparable timestamps would be to either show anomalies in the picture or to find the original base picture which was used for morphing.
SMHoaxslayer showed how the picture was inconsistent by showing a zoomed in version of one part of the image.
— SM Hoax Slayer (@SMHoaxSlayer) August 27, 2017
Amaresh Ojha compared two pictures of the crowed at different points in time and rightly pointed out that the trees were missing in the picture tweeted by Lalu Prasad Yadav. Irrespective of how crowded the ground gets, that green patch can’t simply disappear because most of those trees are taller than an average human.
If there’s a photoshopped image of a crowd, there has to be an original image somewhere. Alt News went a step ahead and found the original picture that was used as the base image for morphing. We searched for posts across Facebook and Twitter with keywords such as RJD rally, Lalu Rally and looked through a variety of pictures that were posted by social media users. A Facebook user Shamsheer Ahmed had posted a collection of 7 pictures, one of which was the base image used for morphing. Considering that he posted it much after Mr Yadav’s tweet, he probably received the picture via his social media/WhatsApp contacts.
We juxtaposed the two pictures, the one that we think is original and the one tweeted by Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav. The combined image can be seen below. Notice how the cars towards the bottom of the picture are in the same position in the two pictures. The positions of cars indicates that it was this picture which was used by RJD’s IT cell team for morphing. The crowd in the original picture is clearly much less than the one portrayed by Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav’s picture.
One wonders what motived the RJD IT Cell team to morph the picture of a rally which already had a huge turnout.
The other falsehood that was perpetrated was by former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav.
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) August 27, 2017
In the above tweet, Junior Yadav claims that the strength of the crowd that attended the rally was 30 lakhs. 30 lakhs also happens to be the population of Jaipur according to 2011 census. Can the whole population of Jaipur fit in the 62 acre Gandhi Maidan ground?
62 acres is equivalent to 27,00,720 square feet. Even if the ground was filled to the brim, by taking a very conservative value of 2 square feet per person, Gandhi Maidan can accomodate a maximum of 13,00,360 or about 13 lakhs. Not sure how Mr Tejashwi Yadav came up with the figure of 30 lakhs.
Politicians should be ashamed of circulating such morphed images and misleading figures. All of these claims can be debunked in very little time. The credibility they lose in the eyes of the people by getting exposed is much larger than gains of pushing out such falsehood.