On 9th May 2020, a video mocking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was tweeted by Sambit Patra, who is the National Spokesperson for Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). In the clip, which is only 6 seconds long, Gandhi can be heard saying, “The red zone is actually the green zone and the green zone is actually the red zone.” Referring to an earlier tweet made by Patra himself about Gandhi, about “Potato from the front and Gold from the back” he suggested that Gandhi keeps making absurd statements. The video has been widely shared, with over 5.3 lakh shares and 11,000 retweets.
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
The caption, which has been written in Hindi reads, “पीछे से आलू आगे से सोना और अब जो RED है वो GREEN है जो GREEN है वो RED है ये क्या है”
Translation: “Potatoes from the back and gold from the front, and now, what is RED is GREEN, and what is GREEN is RED. What is this?”
Many of twitter have shared this clipping, along with the caption ‘पीछे से आलू आगे से सोना’, while several others have merely mocked him through tweets without even posting the video.
पीछे से आलू आगे से सोना बनाने वाली मशीन की सफलता के बाद
रंग बिरंगे पप्पू जी
जो RED है वो GREEN है जो GREEN है वो RED है
जिसको नही समझ आया उसको 5 वर्षीय कोर्स गुलाम यूनिवरसिटी से करना होगा
समझ तो मुझे भी नही आया………..
— जिया ..भारतीय हिन्दू (@only_indian143) May 10, 2020
पीछे से आलू आगे से सोना
जो RED है वो GREEN है
जो GREEN है वो RED है
ये क्या है
— Ashok Singh 🇮🇳#StayHomeSaveLives (@TheAshoksWorld) May 9, 2020
The same video has been shared by several users on facebook, often with the exact same caption as the one used in Sambit Patra’s post.
The snippet that has been shared by Patra and a hoard of other users across social media has been clipped from an hour long virtual press conference that Rahul Gandhi had held with journalists over the Covid-19 outbreak in India. A video of the interaction was shared on the official YouTube channel of the Indian National Congress (INC) on May 7th, 2020.
In response to a question asked by Press Trust of India (PTI) Bhasha journalist about decentralization at timestamp 18:40, Gandhi started talking about the kind of leadership that is required at a time like this. He stressed upon the need for strong local leaders, from the level of the Prime Minister to collectors, so that change can be brought from the ground level.
At about 19:40 about the several colored zones into which the country has been divided by the central government, for implementation of the lock down based on the intensity of the outbreak in the area. According to Gandhi, these zones should have demarcated based of local information, and not on the nation level.
“These zones – red, orange and green – have been created on a national level. They should be created on a state level. Chief Ministers are telling us that the zone which is red in the national level is actually green and the zone which is green is actually red.” He can be heard saying this at approximately 20:00. “This information is with state-level leaders, and hence the zones should be made after taking advice from District Magistrates and Chief Ministers”, he added.
While only a very small snippet of the entire briefing has been made viral, the words “national level” have been clipped from the video to exclude the context of decentralized leadership and make it seem like an absurd statement made by Gandhi.
Furthermore, several news outlets have also reported about Gandhi’s suggestion to demarcate the red, orange and green zones on the state level during the press conference. A report by Business Standard has stated that, ‘While addressing a virtual press conference on May 08 amid corona virus situation, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi suggested that states should demarcate zones. “Red, orange and green zones have been demarcated at national level. These zones should be decided at state levels involving District Magistrates. Our Chief Ministers are saying that the areas which are red zones at national level are actually green zones and vice versa.”‘
News Agency ANI has also tweeted the same statement made by 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
According to the caption accompanying the video, Sambit Patra has suggested that Gandhi had earlier also said, “पीछे से आलू आगे से सोना”. This is in reference to another piece of misinformation that had been peddled about the Congress leader my BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya. It had gone viral first in 2017 and then later again, in 2018.
A video was shared by Malviya on twitter, in which Rahul Gandhi can be heard saying, “ऐसी मशीन लगाऊंगा इस साइड से आलू घुसेगा उस साइड से सोना निकलेगा (Will install such a machine that if a potato is inserted from one end, gold will come out from the other end)”.
People are sending this to me and asking in disbelief if he actually said this.. Of course he did! pic.twitter.com/rgdTf26ARv
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 15, 2017
This was again a clipped video, taken out of context from a 26-minute speech that Gandhi had given in Gujarat’s Patan on November 12, 2017. He was actually taking a dig at PM Minister Narendra Modi and quoting his promises. The complete video has been uploaded on the leader’s YouTube channel.
At at 17:50 minutes he can be heard saying, “कुछ महीने पहले यहाँ बाढ़ आयी ५०० करोड़ रुपये दूंगा, (पीएम मोदी ने) एक भी रूपया नहीं दिया. आलू के किसानो को कहा ऐसी मशीन लगाऊंगा इस साइड से आलू घुसेगा उस साइड से सोना निकलेगा…मेरे शब्द नहीं है नरेंद्र मोदीजी के शब्द है.”
Translation: “A few months ago there was a flood here and he [PM Modi] said he will give Rs 500 crore but not even a rupee was given. He told potato farmers, will install such a machine that if a potato is inserted from one end, gold will come out from the other end…these are not my words but Narendra Modiji’s words.”
The claim has been debunked by SM HoaxSlayer earlier here.
Hence, a clipped video of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was shared by BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra to mock him and take his words out of context. Further, this video was legitimized on the basis of another clipped video of Gandhi that had been made viral a few years prior by BJP IT Cell Chief Amit Malviya.