Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on April 3 held a prepoll rally with leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in his parliamentary constituency, Wayanad. Following the rally, Gandhi filed his nomination papers for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. An image purportedly clicked at the rally is viral on social media with users claiming that the rally witnessed ‘an ocean of green flags’. Verified Right Wing Influencer Raushan Sinha (@MrSinha_ on X) amplified the claim. (Archive)

The verified Twitter handle for Kreately, a portal indulging in propaganda, hate and misinformation, and promoted by BJP leader Kapil Mishra, also tweeted some videos along with the viral image, claiming that they were shot at the recent Congress roadshow. (Archive)

Verified user @AjiHaaan also tweeted the image and sarcastically commented, “And then they say, look, BJP people are calling us Muslim Leaguers…look at the flags.” (Archive)

Several other users also amplified the viral image claiming that it was clicked at the April 3 roadshow in Wayanad. (Archives- 1, 2, 3, 4)

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The Image is From 2019

A reverse image search on the viral picture led us to a report by The New Indian Express from April 2019 which contained the same image. The image description indicated that the image was clicked during a similar roadshow in 2019 after Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers in Wayanad for the Lok Sabha elections that year. In the photo, Gandhi can be seen alongside his sister and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra greeting party workers during the roadshow at Kalpetta.

It is worth noting that at the time there was a controversy regarding the green flags seen during the rally, with social media users claiming that the roadshow witnessed ‘Pakistani flags’ and ‘Islamic flags’ being waved. An Alt News fact-check DEBUNKED these claims and conclusively established that the flags seen in the image represent the Indian Union Muslim League, which is one of the six parties in the UDF alliance, which includes Congress.

For instance, on the IUML banner, the crescent star and the moon are placed at the top-left corner whereas the same is placed in the middle in the generic religious banner often used in the subcontinent as well as the Pakistani flag. Moreover, the Pakistani flag has a white band on the left side. Below is a comparison among the three.

The official handle of the Indian National Congress also tweeted images from the roadshow in Wayanad on April 3, 2024. One can notice the stark differences if one compares the 2019 image with the 2024 image.

One of the differences between the 2019 roadshow and the 2024 roadshow is the absence of IUML flags in the latter. In fact, this became a talking point in the state’s political quarters and beyond. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan asked whether Congress ‘feared’ the BJP following the controversy regarding the green flags in 2019. On the other hand, BJP leader Smriti Irani stated that the lack of Muslim League flags at the roadshow meant that either Rahul Gandhi was ashamed of getting support from the Muslim League or when he visits temples in North India, he would not be able to hide his association with the organisation. The Union minister had flown to Wayanad for the nomination of the BJP candidate K Surendran.

Misinformation by Kreately

Moreover, it should be noted that the entire collection of photos and videos shared by Kreately in the context of the 2024 Wayanad roadshow is old.

The first video in the tweet can be traced back to a YouTube video dated June 10, 2019. Here too, IUML flags are being waved, with the crescent moon and star at the top left corner.

The second video is also from 2019 and a key frame from this video was used in the 2019 Alt News fact-check to establish that the flags indeed belonged to the IUML. The vehicle carrying Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi can also be seen moving in the background.

The third image was clicked during the 2019 roadshow in Wayanad. The image belongs to the Press Trust of India and shows IUML supporters, with green flags, joining supporters of Congress as they waved flags before the filing of nomination papers Rahul Gandhi in 2019.

Hence, an image from the 2019 Congress roadshow held after Rahul Gandhi had filed his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections that year is viral in 2024. Social media users pointed out that green flags were seen in the image and made communal insinuations. Rahul Gandhi did hold a roadshow this year in Wayanad on the day of filing his nomination, but there was hardly any IUML flag visible. This was pointed out by both the Left and the Right.

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About the Author

Student of Economics at Presidency University. Interested in misinformation.