An 18-second clip from an election rally in Hubbali, Karnataka, is viral with the claim that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge waited for Sonia Gandhi’s approval to take a seat on the dais. The viral clip does not have an audio.

In-charge of BJP’s national information & technology department, Amit Malviya, who shares misinformation on social media on a regular basis, tweeted the clip and wrote, “Reminds me of the famous dialogue from Zanjeer… जब तक बैठने को नहीं कहा जाए, शराफ़त से खड़े रहो… A vote for Congress means letting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi run Karnataka by proxy”. He also urged his followers to vote wisely on May 10, the day of the Karnataka elections. (Archive)

The official handle for Bharatiya Janata Party Karnataka also tweeted the clip and wrote, “Three generations of the Gandhi family have consistently disrespected Karnataka and its leaders: Indira humiliated Nijalingappa, Rajiv demeaned Veerendra Patil, and now Sonia-Rahul belittle Mallikarjun Kharge. This cycle of unrelenting humiliation will end on 10th May”. (Archive)

Senior adviser to the ministry of information and broadcasting Kanchan Gupta also tweeted the clip with the same claim. According to him, the clip portrays a ‘forlorn Mr Kharge wringing his hands, wondering whether Sonia Gandhi forgot to tell him he can sit or snubbed him by not telling him he could sit’. (Archive)

Other prominent users who shared the viral clip include BJP leader Priti Gandhi and Twitter Blue subscriber Rupa Murthy. Right Wing influencer Rishi Bagree tweeted the clip indirectly suggesting the same.

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Fact Check

We found the live-stream of the rally on the Indian National Congress’ official YouTube channel titled, “Joint mega rally | Hubballi, Karnataka |”. According to the description, the rally was addressed by Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi. This was Congress parliamentary party chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s debut in the party’s campaign for the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections.

The viral clip starts at the 22:28 minute mark in the YouTube video. After finishing her speech, Sonia Gandhi is seen returning to her seat while Mallikarjun Kharge remains standing and walks to the podium for his speech. While he stands, the audio in the background indicates the host introducing Kharge to the crowd. The audio has been edited out in the viral clip.

Thus it is clear that the video is clipped to show that Mallikarjun Kharge was standing and ‘waiting for Sonia Gandhi to tell him to sit down’ when in fact he was waiting for the introduction to end so that he could walk to the podium and start his speech.

The readers should also note that at the beginning of the video, when Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge take the stage, Sonia Gandhi is seen politely asking Kharge to take a seat. Kharge and the Gandhis are seen sitting together at the same time.

We noted that Mallikarjun Kharge had taken to Twitter to express gratitude to Sonia Gandhi for addressing the rally. He wrote, “A decisive mandate for the Congress party shall save Karnataka from the loot of 40% Commission Sarkara. A people friendly, welfare driven & progressive government under the Congress is a guarantee for progress”.

Thus a clipped and edited video from the Congress rally at Hubballi, Karnataka, is viral with the claim that the video portrays Mallikarjun Kharge waiting for Sonia Gandhi’s permission to sit down. In reality, Kharge was waiting for the anchor to complete his words of introduction, before he could walk up to the podium to start his speech.

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About the Author

Student of Economics at Presidency University. Interested in misinformation.