Union Minister Smriti Irani last week shared a tweet posted by a right-wing user, who accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi of reneging on his promise to waive off farmers’ loan after his party won assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
A right-wing user, Pawan Durrani, had posted two short videos of Gandhi, attempting to show the alleged U-turn by the Congress president on his promise to waive off farmers’ loan. The first video was of Gandhi addressing an election rally in Madhya Pradesh, where he promised the voters, “I want to assure you from this stage. The day the Congress forms its government in Madhya Pradesh, you count ten days from that day and you loans will be waived off.”
Durrani’s post that Irani shared also had a clip from Gandhi’s recent press conference, held by him moments after it emerged that the Congress had defeated the BJP in the three states on 11 December. In that video, Gandhi is heard saying, “Loan waiver is not a solution. The solution will be more complex. The solution will be to support the farmers. The solution will be to build infrastructure and technology. Frankly speaking, the solution is not easy.”
Gandhi indeed made these comments on 11 December during his high-octane presser but Durrani mischievously omitted the portion to imply that the Congress president had performed a U-turn on his promise. The sentence (at 22 minutes and 47 seconds) before Gandhi said that ‘loan waiver is not a solution’ was “I said in my election speeches that loan waiver was a supporting step, loan waiver is not a solution.” This clearly showed that Gandhi had not reneged on his election promises.
In the same press conference, Gandhi was reminded about his election promises to farmers on loan waiver. This is was what he had said (at 14.47 seconds), “We’ve said that as soon as our government is formed, the process to waive off farmers’ loans will start, immediately.”
But, once again, Durrani did not include this bit in the video or his tweet, making it clear that his intention was seemingly to cause mischief.
It’s one thing for a troll to resort to such mischief, but what’s alarming is that a union minister giving credence to dissemination of fake news. Fake news has become a real menace in India. A recent study of the BBC had found that majority of those culprits behind the spread of fake news menace were supporters of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Irani sharing a fake news in the face of her party’s defeat goes on to prove why the BBC survey may be spot on.