After the Aam Aadmi Party’s Bhagwant Mann took over as Chief Minister of Punjab, a set of photos were tweeted by Priti Gandhi, the former social media in-charge of BJP Mahila Morcha. She attacked the Aam Aadmi Party for allegedly replacing the portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh with the portraits of Bhagat Singh and Dr. BR Ambedkar.
Gandhi also added that this was an attack on the Sikh identity and whether it was Akali dal in power or Congress, no previous governments had dared to replace the portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh from the CM office.
Kejriwal govt’s disrespectful attack on Sikh identity. Punjab govt removes photo of Maharaja Ranjit Singh from Punjab Chief Minister’s Office.
Do note, whether it was Akali dal or Congress, no one in the past dared to remove the portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh from the CMO. pic.twitter.com/f3NWJzGdTs
— Priti Gandhi – प्रीति गांधी (@MrsGandhi) March 17, 2022
The Punjab Lok Congress also tweeted the claim without the viral image.
Removing Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s picture from Chief Minister’s office is unacceptable. Maharaja Ranjit Singh is a great symbol of Punjabis’ pride, valour and courage. Nobody can take his place.
Appeal @BhagwantMann to restore it.
— Punjab Lok Congress (@plcpunjab) March 17, 2022
The claim is also viral on Facebook with infographics in Hindi.
The claim that the portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been removed from the Punjab CMO is patently false. A simple keyword search led us to a tweet by ANI, where a portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is clearly visible behind Mann, in his maiden cabinet meeting.
Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann addressed his maiden meeting after assuming charge as the Chief Minister of the state.
He urged the top brass of state civil & police administration to discharge their duties as public servants in the letter and spirit: CMO pic.twitter.com/2MrNQeNWJY
— ANI (@ANI) March 17, 2022
The conference room in the above picture is the same as the one where Parkash Singh Badal and Charanjit Singh Channi’s photos have been taken.
We performed a keyword search on Twitter and came across the photo of Captain Amarinder Singh with the portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh behind him. This photo was tweeted by Amarinder himself.
However, it appears that the portrait behind him and the wall does not match the portrait and the wall in the conference room.
After performing a keyword search on Google, we found a photo of Captain Amarinder Singh in the same conference room with the same portrait behind him.
To conclude, the portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is still in the conference room where it used to be.
No portrait before Mann took over
We performed a keyword search and checked for photos of the CMO when Charanjit Singh Channi took over. After rummaging through the results we found a photo of an office similar to the one where Bhagwant Mann is sitting. There were no portraits of Maharaja Ranjit Singh visible behind Channi.
We also found a video of Mann’s office on YouTube. Comparing the stills from the video, it can be concluded that it is the same office and there was no portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the office when Channi had taken over as the CM.
We also came across photos of Captain Amarinder Singh in the same room from 2018. The photos were taken during the swearing-in ceremony of IAS Mandeep Sandhu, who took charge as the chief commissioner of Punjab’s transparency and accountability commission. The same woodwork and portrait are visible in these photos.
Hence, a painting behind Mann was replaced with the portraits of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Dr. BR Ambedkar.
Update: We have updated the article to include additional details about a photo of Bhagwant Mann that was also circulated with the viral claim.
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