On April 7, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, BSP Supremo Mayawati and RLD chief Ajit Chaudhary held a joint rally for ‘Mahagatbandhan’ in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh. On the same day, BJP UP spokesperson Shalabh Mani Tripathi tweeted an image featuring Ajit Chaudhary seated at the dais behind two big chairs. Tweeting the image, he claimed that RLD chief and his son Jayant Chaudhary were denied prominent chairs at the ‘Mahagatbandhan’ platform as there were only two prime seats at the stage, for Yadav and Mayawati.
हे भगवान, गठबंधन की रैली में ये देखिए पिता – पुत्र का हाल, आगे की दो कुर्सियाँ मायावती जी और अखिलेश जी के लिए हैं, वो भी चकाचक तौलिए के साथ, जबकि अजीत सिंह जी और जयंत जी पीछे, अपनी नहीं तो कम से कम चौधरी साहब की इज्जत की तो सोच लेते, ऐसे गठबंधन से पहले !! pic.twitter.com/y7iqlnZt7R
— Chowkidar Shalabh Mani Tripathi (@shalabhmani) April 7, 2019
Many other individuals on Twitter have posted the image with an identical narrative.
#देवबंद में महागठबंधन की पहली रैली। मायावती और अखिलेश यादव के पहुंचने से पहले चौधरी अजित सिंह और जयंत चौधरी इस तरह पीछे की कुर्सियों पर बैठे नजर आए। दोनों बड़े नेताओं के आने पर ही अजित सिंह को आगे वाली कुर्सी मिली। pic.twitter.com/5GU7c0GsPd
— Sachin Gupta (@sachingupta787) April 7, 2019
Alt News found that Shalabh Tripathi’s claim is, simply put, false. A complete video of the rally was posted on YouTube by Samajwadi Party. At 39:30 mins in the video posted below, one can see the SP chief and BSP supremo arrive at the dais, after which they are seen requesting Ajit Chaudhary to come to the front row.
Watching the video in its entirety makes it evident that there were three big chairs placed in the front at the dais. Moreover, Ajit Singh was seen seated on one of the chairs placed in the front row beside Yadav and Mayawati. The frame posted by Shalabh Mani Tripathi crops out the third big seat placed at the dais and hence comes across as misleading. It may be noted that Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhary were seated in the back row before the BSP and SP chiefs arrived on the stage.
In a series of tweets later put out by Tripathi in response to questions raised against his claim, he said that Chaudhary was only called at the front for a photo-op while the RLD chief was seated in the back row for the rest of the function. This claim was also found to be untrue. Ajit Singh was seated in one of the big chairs, right from the time Yadav and Mayawati arrived at the stage. He continued to occupy the position for the rest of the function.
तस्वीरें और वीडियो गवाह हैं कि अजीत सिंह और जयंत पीछे बैठे हैं चुपचाप, बाद में सिर्फ अजीत सिंह बुलवाए गए, वो भी फ़ोटो क्लिक कराने के वक़्त, जयंत जो अखिलेश के हमउम्र हैं, पीछे ही बैठाए गए, क्या मायावती जी या अखिलेश जी इस तरह पीछे बैठते कभी, जैसे अजीत सिंह और जयंत बैठे दिख रहे ? https://t.co/zaLP2mszvP
— Chowkidar Shalabh Mani Tripathi (@shalabhmani) April 8, 2019
BJP spokesperson tweeted a misleading image to claim that RLD chief Ajit Chaudhary was denied prominence at the ‘Mahagatbandhan’ rally in Deoband. Later, he came up with new claims to back his initial claim. These too were found to be untrue.