As the Bengal election draws to a close, left-leaning propagandists have become desperate — and sufficiently brazen — to spread fake news that can be debunked by a simple Google search.
YouTuber Dhruv Rathee, who is regularly caught spreading fake news, today claimed that Mamata Banerjee has stopped her election campaign. “Rahul Gandhi, Left Parties and Mamata Banerjee have all stopped their election campaigns now. Only Modi and Shah are shameless enough to continue playing with people’s lives. For them, politics > your life,” the propagandist wrote.
India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai was more subtle in spreading his fake news. The ‘good news’ story this morning: first @RahulGandhi now @MamataOfficial .. who will be next?” he cleverly tweeted, while attaching a news report in which Derek O’ Brien had said that that Mamata wouldn’t campaign in Kolkata. Now Bengal is a lot bigger than just Kolkata, and a statement that Mamata wouldn’t campaign in Kolkata couldn’t possibly mean that Mamata was stopping her Bengal election campaign altogether. But Rajdeep smartly clubbed her with Rahul Gandhi in his tweet, who has said he wouldn’t address the one rally he had remaining in West Bengal, giving people the impression that Mamata Banerjee too had stopped her Bengal campaign.
Both propagandists were exposed a few hours later, and by none other than Mamata Banerjee herself. In the afternoon, Mamata Banerjee went live on her Facebook page while addressing a rally from Chakulia, Uttar Dinajpur.
But that wasn’t all — around an hour later, Mamata Banerjee was live again, this time addressing a rally from Hemtabad, Uttar Dinajpur.
And Mamata was still not done — she went ahead and addressed a third rally from Kaliaganj, Uttar Dinajpur.
Not only has Mamata Banerjee addressed three rallies since Dhruv Rathee and Rajdeep Sardesai hinted that she had suspended her election campaign, but there seems to be no evidence that, apart from the city of Kolkata, she plans to stop her election campaign at all. But this isn’t the first time that the duo have spread fake news.
Last year, in an apparent bid to demonize the Hindu festival of Diwali, Dhruv Rathee had claimed that BJP MP Rita Bahuguna’s granddaughter had died from firecracker burns, but the MP herself had said that firecrackers were not involved. Just two days ago, Rathee had spread the fake news that the government had spent Rs. 300 crore on the Ram Mandir, but as it turned out, the Rs. 300 crore was allocated for the approach road for the temple, and not for the temple itself.
Rajdeep Sardesai, of course, is the unquestioned king of fake news. Just last year, he’d spread the fake news that Rashtrapati Bhawan had put up a portrait of an actor instead of Subhas Chandra Bose, and had to be rebutted by the Office of the President. A few days after that, he’d gone on TV and claimed that a farmer protester had been shot by the Delhi police, but CCTV footage had later revealed that the protester had died when his tractor had overturned after hitting a barricade. Sardesai had then been suspended by India Today for repeatedly spreading fake news, and had his salary docked. But immediately after his return, Sardesai had begun spreading fake news again, this time saying that Mamata Banerjee had said that she had been attacked by BJP workers, when she’d said nothing of the sort. After being called out, Sardesai had then quietly deleted his tweet.