Sambit Patra, national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), tweeted a video mocking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. In the mere 6 second clip, Gandhi can be heard saying, “The red zone is actually the green zone and the green zone is actually the red zone.” Patra suggested that Rahul Gandhi had earlier said “potato from the front and gold from the back” and now he is making another absurd statement. The video drew over 5 lakh views and 10,000 shares (archive).
पीछे से आलू आगे से सोना
जो RED है वो GREEN है
जो GREEN है वो RED है
ये क्या है 😎 pic.twitter.com/mrHFHh8Wl2
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 9, 2020
The clip has been circulating on social media with the ‘पीछे से आलू आगे से सोना’ caption before Patra shared it on his profile. “After the immense success of converting potato to gold, Pappu has another magic up his sleeve,” wrote Twitter user @Divyans47789162.
From the Facebook page ‘भईया जी कहिन’, the video garnered nearly 5,000 views but has been shared with a slightly different message. “What is red is green, what’s green is red. Sometimes I am the party president, sometimes my mother. If mom resigns, I will become [the president] and if I resign, she will become [the president],” reads the caption.
[Translated from: जो RED है वो GREEN है जो GREEN है वो RED है. कभी मैं पार्टी अध्यक्ष हूँ तो कभी मां मां इस्तीफा देंगी मैं बन जाऊंगा .. मैं इस्तीफा दूंगा माँ बन जाएगी]
जो RED है वो GREEN है
जो GREEN है वो RED है..
कभी मैं पार्टी अध्यक्ष हूँ तो कभी मां
मां इस्तीफा देंगी मैं बन जाऊंगा ..
मैं इस्तीफा दूंगा माँ बन जाएगी 🙏🙏
Posted by भईया जी कहिन on Friday, 8 May 2020
The above case is an ‘inception’ of misinformation. A misleading claim has been piggy-backed on another piece of false news. The “potato-gold” claim is false and has been debunked by Alt News twice in the past. We will elaborate on it later, let us start the fact-check with the video currently viral.
1. “Red is green, green is red”
The video shared by Sambit Patra and a plethora of other users is 6 seconds clipped from an hour-long press briefing by Rahul Gandhi on coronavirus outbreak in India. A video of his interaction with journalists was uploaded by Congress on YouTube on May 7.
At about 18:45 minutes into the address, a journalist with the Press Trust of India (PTI) questioned Gandhi on decentralisation. The Congress leader stressed the need for strong local leaders and tackling the virus from the ground level. He then went on to talk about the different zones set-up by the central government based on the intensity of the outbreak across the country and why these zones should be formed on the basis of local information.
“These zones – red, orange and green – have been created on a national level. They should be created on a state level. Chief Ministers [of Congress-ruled states] are telling us that the zone which is red in the national level is actually green and the zone which is green is actually red.” This can be heard at 20:00 minutes onward. He further says that since the information is available with state leaders, zones should be formed taking advise from the District Magistrate and the Chief Minister.
The words “national level” were clipped from the speech to take out the context of decentralisation and portray that Gandhi was making a silly statement.
2. “Potato-gold machine”
In 2017, a video of Rahul Gandhi 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),” was shared by BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya (archive).
People are sending this to me and asking in disbelief if he actually said this.. Of course he did! pic.twitter.com/rgdTf26ARv
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 15, 2017
The same ‘remark’ was referred by an ANI reporter while questioning BJP MP Hema Malini last year.
The statement was a part of a clipped video of a much longer speech where Gandhi was actually taking a dig at PM 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 है.]
It may be noted that Gandhi’s claim amounted to political rhetoric since there is no record of PM Modi ever making any such statement.
Therefore, a clipped video of Rahul Gandhi was shared by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra to mock the Congress leader. Moreover, the misinformation was promoted on the back of the infamous “potato-gold” remark which was also clipped from a longer speech.