Hardik Patel, who is a Patidar leader from Gujarat and joined Congress earlier this year, was reportedly slapped by one Tarun Gajjar at a rally in Surendranagar, Gujarat. Soon after the incident, a Facebook page, I Support Modi ji and BJP, shared a collage of two pictures featuring Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Hardik Patel. In the image placed at the top, Gandhi is flanked by an unidentified person, while in the bottom image, a picture of the incident where Patel was slapped at a rally has been placed. It is being claimed that the man who attacked Patel was also seen with Rahul Gandhi at some other event in the past. It implicitly suggests that the accused in this incident is a Congressman and ergo, it’s a “Congress gimmick”.
Social media users have shared this image on Twitter and Facebook with an identical narrative that the accused is a member of the Congress party, who was set up by the party itself to gain traction during the election campaign. Twitter user, @Nationalist_RSS, also posted the image with a similar claim.
अपनी पार्टी के लोगों से सभा में थप्पड़ मरवाना भी आजकल कांग्रेस के चुनाव प्रचार का हिस्सा है।😏😏 pic.twitter.com/sxBRJ9SLY5
— Chowkidaar Mayank (@Mayankforbjp) April 19, 2019
The image and the accompanying claim are circulating on WhatsApp as well.
A Google reverse image search of the picture, where Gandhi is seen with the said accused, yields no results. Upon closer examination, Alt News found that the lady standing behind Gandhi and this unidentified person is former Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who had joined BJP in October 2016.
We did a YouTube search with the keywords, “Rita Bahuguna Joshi Rahul Gandhi rally”, and found a video of a Kisan Yatra rally in Congress president Rahul Gandhi and this unidentified person had participated.
The man sitting next to Rahul Gandhi in the above video is a Congress leader named Anugrah Narayan Singh.
We also found the same image posted in an article, published by The Financial Express on September 16, 2018. This photograph pertains to the Kisan Yatra rally organized by the Congress party. A portion of the image was mischievously cropped to suggest that the leader was seen with the accused who slapped Hardik Patel in Surendranagar.
It may be reiterated that the person who attacked Patel in a rally at Surendranagar is Tarun Gajjar, as reported by the media.
Tarun Gajjar: Then again during his rally in Ahmedabad when I had gone to get medicine for my child, everything was shut down. He shuts down the roads, he shuts down Gujarat whenever he wants to, What is he? Gujarat’s hitler? (2/2) https://t.co/QXo30wJmAB
— ANI (@ANI) April 19, 2019
In conclusion, the person involved in the attack on Hardik Patel is not a Congressman as suggested on social media. It is established that the person seen with Rahul Gandhi is Anugrah Narayan Singh, Congress in-charge for Uttarakhand and NOT Tarun Gajjar who slapped Hardik Patel. Apart from the fact that both these men have a similar forehead and beard, there is no other resemblance.