The Congress’s usual strategy of lying, then lying some more to cover up their initial lies, has publicly — and humiliatingly — come undone.
On 7th February, Priyanka Gandhi had tweeted out a picture, that ostensibly showed how army jawans were joining the farmer protests. “As soon as he was granted leave, this army jawan reached the borders of Delhi, and his eyes welled up as he met his father there. For the last 75 days, his father has been fighting for his very existence. And this capitalist government dares to call them terrorists, anti-nationals, and schemers? This government of opportunistic cheats should be ashamed of themselves,” she wrote. She attached two pictures of what seemed to be a reunion between two army jawans and an elderly man.
It had seemed like a heartwarming story, but like many of other Priyanka Gandhi’s tweets, it was also completely fake. India Today did a fact check around the pictures, and concluded they weren’t even from the borders of Delhi, but from far-away Ludhiana. “We did not find any credible news report regarding the viral pictures. But with the help of some clues in the pictures, AFWA ascertained that they are from Ludhiana,” India Today wrote. “The viral pictures show a board of shipping company “FedEx” behind the men and another with “PARKING BUS STAND” written on it. Though it can’t be seen clearly, a closer look at the second board reveals “LUDHIANA” printed just below the words “BUS STAND”. Some other boards in Punjabi can also be seen,” it concluded.
“Using related keywords, we found that a “FedEx” outlet is indeed located near Ludhiana bus stand. AFWA reached out to the owner of this “FedEx” outlet Surinder Bansal with the help of the contact number given on the Internet. Bansal confirmed to us that the viral pictures are from outside his shop near Ludhiana bus stand. He, however, could not tell us anything about the soldiers seen in the pictures,” India Today’s report added.
It was thus conclusively proven that the story about army jawans reaching the borders of Delhi was completely made up, and amplified by Priyanka Gandhi. At this point, Twitter handle Political Kida, which often busts fake news, created a graphic which showed how Priyanka Gandhi had sought to mislead her millions of followers.
The image was shared widely, particularly because Priyanka Gandhi has a history of sharing fake news. But in response, the Congress didn’t claim that India Today’s Fact-Check was false — it attempted an even bolder maneuver.
Today, Dr Vineet Punia, who is the Secretary (Communiation) at the Congress party, brazenly claimed that Priyanka Gandhi had never tweeted out the fake news in the first place. “Shame on fake @PoliticalKida, Priyanka ji never tweeted any such tweet,” he wrote on Twitter. He also tagged Twitter India, hoping that they’d take some action.
But Political Kida had an ace up their sleeve. Minutes after Dr. Vineet Punia had claimed that Priyanka Gandhi had never tweeted the tweet in question, Political Kida shared an archive version of Priyanka Gandhi’s tweet. The archive version shows that on on 9:08 am on 7th February, Priyanka Gandhi had indeed tweeted out the fake news, which was later deleted at some point. “Never Doubt @PoliticalKida, we don’t make any allegations without evidence unlike Congress,” the handle wrote.
The end result was doubling embarrassing for the Congress — not only had their leader tweeted out fake news, but their Secretary for Communication had then lied that it was never tweeted in the first place, only to be caught red-handed.
This, however, isn’t the first time that Priyanka Gandhi has shared fake news on social media. Last year, Priyanka Gandhi had shared photos which she’d claimed were of famers in distress in Uttar Pradesh, but it had been later pointed out that the photo she’d shared was from Pakistan. A few months after that, she’d claimed to share pictures from Assam and UP floods, but it had been discovered that the pictures were several years old. And just two months ago, Facebook had officially labelled a post of hers as misleading after she’d shared pictures of a train with the Adani logo on it and claimed that the Indian Railways had been sold to Adani. But this latest bit of fake news might be the worst yet — not only did she share fake news, but Congress’ Secretary for Communication tried to lie to prove that she hadn’t shared it in the first place. But the web archive link, where her tweet will stay for posterity, will remain proof of how the Congress tried to cover up one lie with another.