Amid the coronavirus pandemic, political parties are campaigning in Madhya Pradesh ahead of the by-elections for 28 assembly seats in the state. On September 20, the official Twitter handle of Madhya Pradesh Congress posted a 12-second video of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressing a campaign rally. “Results of Madhya Pradesh by-polls have been declared: When Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was in Mandsaur district’s Suwasra, asked “who’s the better CM Shivraj Chouhan (him) or Kamal Nath”, the public responded in one voice, Kamal Nath. With whom the public stands, his name is Kamal Nath.”

In the video, after Chouhan asks who is the better CM for the state, the crowd can be heard answering “Kamal Nath” in one voice. Even when he repeats the question, the crowd takes Congress leader Kamal Nath’s name. (archive link)

Congress leader Digvijay Singh also tweeted the video with the same claim. (archive link)

Madhya Pradesh Congress Sevadal and Congress leader Premchand Guddu were among the other prominent handles who tweeted the video clip.

Edited video

A cursory glance at the video suggests that it is from a recent rally as Shivraj Singh Chouhan and MLA Hardeep Singh Dang from Suwasra constituency are seen wearing a mask. Upon searching through Chouhan’s YouTube channel, we found a video stream posted on September 20, 2020. It was titled, “A programme organized in Sitamau (Suwasra), district Mandsaur.”

At 59:10 minutes in the video, the viral clip shared by MP Congress and Digvijay Singh can be seen.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in the original video, says, “Answer one more question, who’s the better CM Kamal Nath or Shivraj Singh Chouhan?” to which the crowd responds, “Shivraj Singh Chouhan.” He then repeats, “Say it more loudly Shivraj or Kamal Nath?” and the crowds reiterates, “Shivraj.”

This video is from a rally held in support of Hardeep Singh Dang, the by-election candidate from Suwasra constituency of MP’s Mandsaur district. He is a former Congress MLA who had left the party and joined the BJP in March 2020. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra quote-tweeted MP Congress tweet and wrote, “Rather than going to the public to swing the public mood in their favour, Congress is playing dirty politics by making a fake video viral. However, people in the state are very wise. They very well know the difference between a fake and an original.”

Therefore, Madhya Pradesh Congress and its leaders shared an edited video of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The audio of people chanting “Kamal Nath” was added to the video to give a false impression that the electorate prefers the Congress leader over BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Last week, a two-year-old video of a shoe thrown at Shivraj Singh Chouhan during a public rally was shared as recent.

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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.