Priti Gandhi, national in-charge of social media, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mahila Morcha, tweeted a video of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi where he can be heard saying, “Will install such a machine that if a potato is inserted from one end, gold will come out from the other end. (ऐसी मशीन लगाऊंगा इस साइड से आलू घुसेगा उस साइड से सोना निकलेगा.)”

Rahul Gandhi has been in the news since his condemnation of the Uttar Pradesh government’s handling of the Hathras case where a Dalit woman was allegedly raped.

The same video was earlier shared in reference to the Congress leader’s criticism of the Modi government’s three new farm bills which aim to do away with government interference by creating trading areas free of middlemen. The bills are facing staunch protests from farmer groups and opposition parties. Farmers are concerned they will no longer be protected under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) provision due to the legislation. The ruling party did not consult any stakeholders involved, including farmers, leading to a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha where the bills were passed via a voice vote. Modi government released a full-page advertisement in newspapers accusing the opposition of misleading farmers.

On September 20, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Modi government’s ego makes those farmers cry blood tears who grow gold on the land. (जो किसान धरती से सोना उगाता है, मोदी सरकार का घमंड उसे ख़ून के आँसू रुलाता है।)”

Soon after, several individuals began to mock Gandhi while referring to a ‘potato-gold’ machine statement. Author Bhaava Arora’s tweet garnered over 4,400 likes.

The same reference was earlier used by BJP UP state vice president Vijay Bahadur Pathak. “Congress has been unemployed since the business of producing gold from potato was shut down. (आलु से सोना बनाने का धंधा जब से हुआ मंदा तब से #काँग्रेस_बेरोजगार_है.)”

The Indian economy has heavily suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gross Domestic Product growth rate contracted by 23.9% for the April to June quarter and 41 lakh youth lost jobs in the same period. Congress had started an online campaign against the Modi government over unemployment in the country.

Several people have since been mocking Congress for expressing concerns over joblessness.

Previously debunked misinformation

The same video was shared by BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya in 2017 (archive).

The ‘remark’ was also referred by an ANI reporter while questioning BJP MP Hema Malini last year and by Sambit Patra in a tweet earlier in May.

The statement was a part of a clipped video of a much longer speech where Gandhi was actually taking a dig at Prime Minister Modi during an address in Gujarat’s Patan on November 12, 2017.

The complete video was uploaded on the Congrees leader’s YouTube channel where at 17:50 minutes he can be heard saying, “A few months ago there was a flood here and he [PM Modi] said he will give Rs 500 crore but not even a rupee was given. He told potato farmers, will install such a machine that if a potato is inserted from one end, gold will come out from the other end…these are not my words but Narendra Modiji’s words.”

[Translated from: कुछ महीने पहले यहाँ बाढ़ आयी ५०० करोड़ रुपये दूंगा, (पीएम मोदी ने) एक भी रूपया नहीं दिया. आलू के किसानो को कहा ऐसी मशीन लगाऊंगा इस साइड से आलू घुसेगा उस साइड से सोना निकलेगा…मेरे शब्द नहीं है नरेंद्र मोदीजी के शब्द]

Therefore, Gandhi did not claim that there exists a machine which can convert potato to gold. He attributed the statement to PM Modi. However, Gandhi’s claim amounted to political rhetoric since there is no record of PM Modi ever making any such statement. Alt News had earlier debunked an edited video that portrayed the Prime Minister making the remark.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.