A video clipping of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, showing him seemingly making an absurd statement about COVID-19 Red Zones actually being Green Zones and vice versa is going viral on social media. The video was also shared by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.
However, The Quint found that the clip is actually part of a larger video from when Gandhi held a virtual press conference with journalists amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown and has been snipped to remove context, making it look absurd.
Patra shared the short video of Gandhi making this statement on Twitter on 9 May, in a tweet which had garnered 11k retweets and over 44k likes at the time this story was published.
The caption used by Patra roughly translates to: “Potato from the back, gold from the front. And now, what is red is green, what is green is red. What is this.”
पीछे से आलू आगे से सोना
जो RED है वो GREEN है
जो GREEN है वो RED है
ये क्या है pic.twitter.com/mrHFHh8Wl2
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 9, 2020
An archived version of Patra’s tweet can be seen here.
The six-second long clipping was viral on Twitter with the same caption.
The clip was also extremely viral on Facebook.
WHAT WE FOUND
On running a keyword search on Google, we came across several news articles from 8 May which made it clear that Gandhi had spoken about Green and Red Zones in India at a virtual press conference with journalists.
The news reports clearly showed that Gandhi had said that these zones should be decided at state levels involving District Magistrates and had pointed out that CMs of many states were saying that that areas marked as Red Zones at national level were in reality actually Green Zones and vice versa.
A report by The Times of India said that Gandhi was talking about how demarcation should be done at the state and district level than at a national level.
News agency ANI had also tweeted out the same statement quoting Gandhi.
Red, orange & Green zones have been demarcated at National level. These zones should be decided at state levels involving District Magistrates. Our CMs are saying that the areas which are red zones at national level are actually green zones & vice versa: Rahul Gandhi #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/hWKsvWMCfe
— ANI (@ANI) May 8, 2020
This made it clear that the viral clip had been snipped to make it seem nonsensical.
We then looked at the complete video of the press conference, which had been broadcast on social media from Gandhi’s YouTube handle.
At approximately the 19:15 timestamp, Gandhi starts talking about the kind of leadership required at this time, in response to a question from a reporter from PTI Bhasha.
At the 19:45 mark, he starts talking about zones and says, “These zones that have been made – red, orange and green, they’ve been made at a national level. These zones should have been made at a state level. Our state CMs are telling us that a zone which is red at the national level is actually a green zone and a green zone is actually a red zone. So, information is in the hands of state-level leaders.”
Therefore, it is clear from the video that Gandhi’s clip had been snipped in order to mock him.
Now, to address the caption that Patra used. While part of it refers to the video clipping cleared above, Patra also seems to be saying that Gandhi had earlier said “पीछे से आलू आगे से सोना” (Translation: potato from the back, gold in the front.)
This is actually a reference to an old claim about Gandhi which had gone viral first in 2017 and then later again in 2018. This was a video of the Congress scion saying that he will install a machine that "if fed potato, will give gold in return".
In the 20-second clip, Rahul is seen saying, “Aisi machine lagaunga, iss side se aaloo ghusega, uss side se sona niklega.” (Translation: I will install such a machine in which a potato inserted from one side will come out as gold from the other side.)
However, the truth is that while Gandhi did say that he will install a machine that "if fed potato, will give gold in return", he was actually quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise. The viral portion is only a 20-seconder from a 26-minute speech and had been snipped and shared without context.
The Quint had debunked this claim earlier here.
Therefore, the caption in Patra’s tweet is false and misleading. Neither had Gandhi made a statement about gold and potatoes, nor was his green zone-red zone statement nonsensical.
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