Old photographs used to project show of strength at PM Modi’s West Bengal rally

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently spoke at a political rally in West Bengal. Relations between the Union Government and the West Bengal government have deteriorated following the controversy over CBI’s action in the Saradha chit fund case.

Now, a set of images has been shared by supporters of PM Modi on social media. The photos are of huge crowds which had supposedly attended the Prime Minister’s rally in the state.

कम भीड़ के कारण सभा रद्द ये तो सुना था
पर भारी भीड़ के कारण PM मोदी को बंगाल रैली मे अपना भाषण छोटा करना पड़ा
#HowsTheJosh

Posted by Narendra Modi for PM on Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The above post is by a Facebook page named Narendra Modi For PM. The message accompanying the post reads, “कम भीड़ के कारण सभा रद्द ये तो सुना था पर भारी भीड़ के कारण PM मोदी को बंगाल रैली मे अपना भाषण छोटा करना पड़ा” (It is common to hear of rallies being cancelled due to lack of crowd, but PM Modi had to cut short his speech in his Bengal rally due to huge turnout- translation). #HowsTheJosh is the hashtag along with the message and photos.

Several individual users have shared this set of images on Facebook with the above message.

Photos not from PM’s West Bengal rally

Alt News fact-checked these photographs and found that they are NOT of the recent rally held by the Prime Minister in West Bengal. Using the Google reverse image search tool revealed the origin of each of these photographs

Image 1

The first image, in which PM Modi is seen addressing a large crowd is available on the website of the Prime Minister. The photo is found in a write-up dated May 15, 2014. This confirms that the photograph is at least four years old, if not more.

Image 2

Alt News could not trace the origin of the second photograph.

Image 3

Alt News reverse searched the third photograph and found the photograph on a Facebook page BJP Karnataka Online, posted in April 2014. On further probing, we came across a website Filmibeat, which had posted this photograph with the claim that it was clicked at Narendra Modi’s rally in Karnataka in November 2013.

Image 4

The final image which has been posted as PM Modi’s West Bengal rally is indeed from the state. However, it is not a recent photograph. Alt News found this picture in an article by DeshGujarat of February, 2014. According to the article, these pictures are of PM Modi’s rally which took place in Kolkata early that year.

Who operates the FB page Narendra Modi For PM?

Alt News found that the Facebook page Narendra Modi For PM (@ModiForPMOrg) is run by one Rohit Gangwal. Gangwal in his Twitter bio states that he is the founder of @ModiForPMOrg.

Gangwal is closely associated with the BJP, and has been photographed with several top party leaders like Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya and BJP MP Kirron Kher. He also operates a website with the same name.

Ironically, at least three out of the four photographs of Narendra Modi’s rallies, clicked before he became the Prime Minister, are being shared now to portray popularity and connect in West Bengal at a time when the state has emerged crucial to the BJP’s plan for 2019.

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