On November 19, BJP Mumbai spokesperson Suresh Nakhua tweeted purported statements made by Congress MLA Jitu Patwari – “We give money so that you vote for us. Even though women accept Rs 200 notes and keep them in their blouses and the men drink alcohol, Congress loses in your district – translated.” The video and the accompanying text suggested that the Congress MLA was talking about his party bribing voters before polls. At the time of writing this article, the video drew 20,000 views.

What is the truth?

Alt News found that the 1:18-minute video uploaded by Nakhua was clipped to omit the context of his statements. A Facebook user Sujeet Patel uploaded a longer version of Patwari’s statements which reveals that he was, in fact, not talking about Congress’ election strategy but that of the BJP. While appealing for votes, Patwari termed the BJP “anti-poor” and said that the party does little for the marginalised, yet manages to secure votes by bribing them with cash and alcohol. During elections, he alleged, that women accept Rs 200-500 as bribes and keep them in their “blouses” while the men take alcohol.

In the 2:54-minute video, Patwari can be heard saying, “एक्चुअल में क्या है ये बीजेपी गरीबो के विरोध की पार्टी है…तुम लोग समझते नहीं हो | चुनाव आता है जब ५००-२०० रुपये लेके पोलके में रख लेती है महिलाएँ | (Actually BJP is an anti-poor party..but you people don’t understand. During elections, women accept Rs 500-200 and keep it in their blouses.)”

When the women in the crowd object to the Congress MP’s bribery allegations, he went ahead to add, “चुनाव में कांग्रेस पार्टी क्यों हरी चलो बताओ पार्षद में यहाँ…जेन्ट्स दारू पी लेते है सच कह रहा हु मैं| मेरा अनुभव है ये|मुझे डराने से कुछ नहीं होगा| (If not so then tell me why did Congress party lose in the council elections…men drink alcohol. I am speaking the truth, this is my experience. Threatening me will not achieve anything.”)

प्रिय बंधुओ

जेसा की भाजपा द्वारा एक विडीयो वायरल किया जा रहा है जिसमें जीतू पटवारी जी बस्ती के रहवासियों के मकान तोडेजाने पर रहवासियों को समझाइश देते है कि 200 – 500 पैसे लेकर महिलाएं ओर पुरूष दारू की लालच मे भाजपा को चुन लेते है ओर यहि भाजपा जनता के घरो को उजाडने मे कोई कसर नहीं छोडती। इसमे Jitu Patwari जी ने गलत क्या कहा? पेसे ओर दारू के लालच में ना आए भाजपा को राऊ से भगाए। उन्होंने ये भी कहा वे निरंतर जनता के हित कि लडाई में जनता के साथ है। सदैव मदद करेंगे।

भाजपा ने अधूरा विडियो दिखाकर राऊ कि जनता को गुमराह किया है पुरा विडीयो देखे।

Posted by Sujeet Patel on Monday, 19 November 2018

Patwari’s statements were also reported by several news organisations, including Times Now, which transcribed his quote as, “बीजेपी एक गरीब विरोधी पार्टी है, वे आपकी समस्याओं पर ध्यान नहीं देंगे। आप लोग इसे समझते नहीं हैं। जब चुनाव आते हैं, तो महिलाएं रिश्वत के रूप में 200-500 रुपए लेती हैं और इसे अपने ब्लाउज में रखती हैं। (BJP is an anti-poor party, they don’t pay attention to your issues. You people don’t understand this. During elections, women accept Rs 200-500 as bribery and keep it in their blouses.)

However, this did not prevent social media users from sharing the video with a false narrative.

Viral on social media

BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya shared the clipped video with the caption – “Digvijay Singh’s favourite Jitu Patwari explaining Congress’ election tactics – translated)”

Another BJP leader, Vikash Preetam Sinha, posted the identical video with a similar narrative – “Jitu Patwari, Madhya Pradesh Congress executive director and the apple of Rahul Gandhi’s eyes, is saying how his party distributed money and alcohol to stay in power for years. And now when this tactic is not proving to be effective, see how they are threatening voters – translated.”

Several users followed by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s Office also shared the video affixing the same claim. Among them was one Geetika Swami whose tweet drew over 21,000 views.

While the nature of Jitu Patwari’s statements roused controversies, there is no contention on its meaning. The Congress MP wasn’t describing his party’s election tactics but claiming that the BJP secures votes by bribing the marginalised before the polls and this has led to the Congress losing elections. With MP elections around the corner, circulation of misleading posts is bound to surge. Earlier, a photograph of a Congress leader was misused and linked to a prostitution racket. A photoshopped image of MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan consuming meat was also viral on social media.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.