India Today North East on January 22 tweeted a picture of a bus in which a man in a white T-shirt can be seen sitting next to the driver waving his hand. The outlet asked in the caption whether Rahul Gandhi was using a body double in the ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

Following this, in a January 25 press conference, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sharma claimed that Rahul Gandhi was indeed using a body double in the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. He claimed that Gandhi was sitting inside the bus and the person who was looking out at the people from the window was not him. This statement was promoted by many media platforms.

Fact Check

Alt News came across a report on this matter by Lokmat Times published on January 26. It states that the person being termed as Rahul Gandhi’s body double is actually Rakesh Kushwaha from Madhya Pradesh, who is part of the Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra.

Alt News tracked down Kushwaha’s Facebook profile, in which he has described himself as a Congress worker. Here, he has also shared several banners of the Congress party along with photos of himself. On January 19, he shared a set of images from Assam’s Jorhat, and more photos from Manipur and Nagaland on January 21, during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

On January 22, Kushwaha also posted a clip of an interview with ABP News on Facebook. In this video, the reporter observed that Rakesh Kushwaha was sporting a long beard as Rahul Gandhi had done in the past.

When we compared an image of Rahul Gandhi from the Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra with that of Rakesh Kushwaha, we found that there were a lot of differences in their current looks.

Indian We found that Youth Congress Assam president Zubair Anam had also quoted India Today North East’s tweet on January 25, and wrote that the bus seen in the tweet was not the one used by Rahul Gandhi, but a regular bus was provided by the Indian Youth Congress for Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra participants.

When we compared the bus seen in the outlet’s tweet with the bus used by the Congress leader, we discovered that the two were indeed starkly different.

To sum it up, a tweet by India Today created a confusion by falsely dubbing Madhya Pradesh Congress worker Rakesh Kushwaha as Rahul Gandhi’s body double, with the chief minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma amplifying and ascertaining the false claim.

Donate to Alt News!
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.

Donate Now

About the Author

Abhishek is a senior fact-checking journalist and researcher at Alt News. He has a keen interest in information verification and technology. He is always eager to learn new skills, explore new OSINT tools and techniques. Prior to joining Alt News, he worked in the field of content development and analysis with a major focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).