Since the early hours of February 13, a certain Twitter hashtag gained substantial momentum to share space with the top trends of the day on the micro-blogging website. #RahulGandhiPagalHai or ‘Rahul Gandhi is mad’ transformed into a top trend after multiple users began posting similar tweets with the said hashtag.
However, in the midst of the hundreds of tweets targetting the Congress president were his videos placed out of context and in a misleading manner.
Video 1 – “There is no fool like me”
“I’m not saying this. Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
#RahulGandhiPagalHai,” tweeted Krishna (@Athiest_Krishna) along with a clip where Gandhi can be heard saying – “मेरे जैसा बेवक़ूफ़ इस देश में नहीं है| (There is no other fool like me in this country.)” The video attracted over 15,000 views and more than 800 retweets.
— Krishna (@Atheist_Krishna) February 13, 2019
Several other Twitter users also circulated the same video.
The viral clip is only four seconds of a much longer speech that the Congress president gave at Talkatora stadium in the OBC convention on June 11, 2018. Gandhi wasn’t calling himself a fool but claimed to be quoting a BJP OBC MP who came up to him and said that he (the MP himself) was a fool for supporting PM Modi.
Here’s what Gandhi said at the convention, “लोक सभा में नरेंद्र मोदी जी के OBC MPs मेरे पास आये. सच बताउ बाथरूम से निकल रहा था उन्होंने मुझे रोका. नाम नहीं बता सकता. नाम बता दिया तो मोदीजी आउट कर देंगे. मगर चार-पाँच आए और मैंने उनसे मज़ाक में पूछा, “भइया ये बताओ क्या हो रहा हैँ?” एक मेरा हाथ पकड़ता है, कहता है, “राहुलजी, मेरे जैसा बेवक़ूफ़ इस देश में नहीं है. मैं इनको लाया, मैंने नरेंद्र मोदीजी को प्रधान मंत्री बनाया और आज लोक सभा के संसद में नरेंद्र मोदीजी मुझे एक शब्द नहीं बोलने देते…(Narendra Modi ji’s OBC MPs came to me at the Lok Sabha. If I tell you the truth, I was exiting the bathroom when they stopped me. I cannot reveal their names because if I do, Modiji will sack them. But 4-5 of them had come to me and I jokingly asked them, “Brother tell me what’s happening?” One of them held my hand and said, “Rahulji, there is no other fool like me in this country. I supported him, I made Narendra Modiji the prime minister and today, he does not let me utter a word in the lower house of the parliament.” )”
Video 2 – “I have no proof but the PM is involved in Rafale scam”
Another video of Rahul Gandhi has been tweeted by a few users where he is addressing the Lok Sabha on Rafale and can be heard saying, ““I have no proof so far, but I am very clear that the Prime Minister is directly involved.” This gave the impression that Gandhi was accusing PM Modi of corruption without any evidence.
— Seema Choudhary (@Seems3r) February 13, 2019
This particular statement is a proof that Rahul Gandhi’s drama for Rafale is a face saving stunt for himself, his mother & for Robert Vadra!!@KushalRss@narendramodi#RahulGandhiPagalHai pic.twitter.com/AdvZLzjadc
— KUSHAL CHAUDHARY .🙏🇳🇪 (@KushalRss) February 13, 2019
This is video was also clipped. It is a part of Gandhi’s Lok Sabha address on Rafale earlier this year where his statement was directed at Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. He says that he does not have any proof so far of her involvement, but the Prime Minister is directly involved in the scam.
“Defense Minister said that we are accusing her…Madam I am not accusing you and I am not accusing Mr Parrikar. I am accusing Mr Narendra Modi. Let it be absolutely clear that you have done nothing other than try to defend a lie. So I do not think that you are involved in the Rafale scam. I have no proof so far to say that you are involved but I am very clear that the Prime Minister is directly involved in the Rafale scam,“ the Congress president can be heard saying at 4:26 minutes in the full video below.
Rahul Gandhi is a popular online target. There are numerous other instances showcasing how clipped or morphed videos of the Congress president make way into social media and quickly become a trending topic.
“I will make the Sun rise from the West”
A video of Gandhi, which was widely circulated in November last year, is still being shared on social media. In the 6-second clip, the Congress president can be heard saying, “मुझे प्रधान मंत्री बना दो तो सूरज इस साइड से उगता है उसे उस साइड से उथा दूंगा. (If you make me the prime minister then the sun which rises from this side, I will make it rise from that side.” The link posted below is by the prominent fake news page The India Eye and gives the impression that Gandhi appealed to the crowd that if they help him become the PM, he will make the Sun rise from the West.
आइए देखते है नई पप्पुगीरी – अब ये सूरज को भी पश्चिम से निकाल सकते है ।
Posted by The India Eye on Friday, 9 November 2018
The clip was extracted from Rahul Gandhi’s address at a public gathering in Dongargarh, Chhattisgarh on November 9, 2018, where his statement was actually a dig at prime minister Modi. The full video of his speech was uploaded by Congress, where at 8:27 minutes, he says, “मोदीजी जैसे कहते है ना भईया चाँद को मैं इधर से उधर कर दूंगा। मुझे प्रधान मंत्री बना दो तो सूरज इस साइड से उगता है उसे इस साइड से उठा दूंगा. ऐसी बातें मैं नहीं करूँगा…(Like Modiji says that brothers I will shift the moon from here to there. If you make me the prime minister then the sun which rises from this side, I will make it rise from that side. I will not indulge in such talks…)”
LIVE: Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses a public gathering in Dongargarh, Chhattisgarh. #GadhboNavaChhattisgarh
Posted by Indian National Congress on Friday, 9 November 2018
This misinformation was earlier debunked by India Today.
In 2017, a video of Rahul Gandhi saying, “ऐसी मशीन लगाऊंगा इस साइड से आलू घुसेगा उस साइड से सोना निकलेगा …(Will install such a machine that if a potato is inserted from one end, gold will come out from the other end.)” was shared by BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya who claimed that the Congress president made this statement.
People are sending this to me and asking in disbelief if he actually said this.. Of course he did! pic.twitter.com/rgdTf26ARv
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 15, 2017
This too was a clipped video of a much longer speech where Rahul Gandhi was actually taking a dig at PM Modi during an address in Gujarat’s Patan on November 12, 2017.
The complete video was uploaded on the Congress president’s YouTube channel where at 17:50 minutes he can be heard saying, “कुछ महीने पहले यहाँ बाढ़ आयी ५०० करोड़ रुपये दूंगा, (पीएम मोदी ने) एक भी रूपया नहीं दिया. आलू के किसानो को कहा ऐसी मशीन लगाऊंगा इस साइड से आलू घुसेगा उस साइड से सोना निकलेगा…मेरे शब्द नहीं है नरेंद्र मोदीजी के शब्द है. (A few months ago there was a flood here and he (PM Modi) said he will give Rs 500 crore but not even a rupee was given. He told potato farmers, will install such a machine that if a potato is inserted from one end, gold will come out from the other end…these are not my words but Narendra Modiji’s words.)”
These are only a few examples, but misleading videos crop up every now and then on social media to target the Congress president. Misinformation has been used in the past to claim that Rahul Gandhi said that Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence was inspired by Islam. His video of praying at a Dargah was pushed with the narrative that he was praying for a Muslim kingdom in India. There have also been false claims of him taking a U-turn on farm loan waivers and that he termed former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah’s government corrupt.