Fact check: Did 25 lakh people attend Rahul’s Bikaner rally?

Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally in Rajasthan’s Bikaner on Wednesday as the state is scheduled to go to polls on December 7.

There was nothing unusual about the event during which the Congress president blasted the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the state and at the Centre, except for the assertion that more than 25 lakh people attended the rally.

A Rahul Gandhi fan page on Facebook — Rahul Gandhi for PM — shared a photograph claiming that 25 lakh people had thronged to hear Rahul Gandhi speak. The post also went on to mention that with this, Rahul Gandhi broke his own grandmother Indira Gandhi’s record of having attracted 20 lakh people to her rally.

Rahul Gandhi rally

This was done in an apparent bid to show how popular the Congress scion is. The post was ‘shared’ by more than 16,000 people and ‘liked’ by around 9,500 people.

However, a simple Internet search revealed that the photo shared on the Facebook page was a fake. The picture is from the 2013 Gahona rally of the then Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Facebook is a major social media platform that is being used by political parties to spread their message and engage a larger number of people. Political parties generally manage several such pages on social media platforms to disseminate information, misinformation and propaganda. The sole intention is to show the opponent in poor light, often without letting truth get in the way.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi

This is not the first time the Congress has been found disseminating fake news. The party’s social media head Divya Spandana was caught posting a maliciously edited video on Twitter to show Prime Minister Narendra Modi in poor light.

However, with many people pointing out the obvious fake photograph, the Rahul fan page on Facebook has since removed the picture without offering any explanation.