Gujarat has become one of the most politically charged places in the country, with high-profile politicians – from PM Modi to Delhi CM Kejriwal- touring the state to garner public support ahead of the assembly elections. PM Modi recently concluded a three-day-tour of the state, during which he addressed a number of rallies and roadshows and inaugurated several development projects. It is in this backdrop that a video is going viral on social media platforms, showing vacant chairs at what appears to be a public rally venue, while the PM’s speech is being telecasted in the background.
Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan was among several others who shared over a minute long video with sarcastic caption. In a tweet dated October 10, 2022, Bhushan wrote in Hindi, “Prime Minister’s huge election rally in Gujarat. A symbol of his growing popularity!” The post has so far garnered nearly 5.5k retweets, 1.2M views and 22.4k likes. Archived version of the same can be seen here.
Several other Twitter users shared the video mocking “massive crowds” at PM Modi’s rally in Gujarat.
The video is doing rounds on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube as well.
We started by carefully analysing the video to ascertain the exact location from where the video was recorded. Notably, Modi can be heard speaking in Gujarati suggesting that the visuals seen on the screen were indeed from one of his outings in the poll-bound state as claimed. To further determine the place of the rally, we skimmed through the videos on PM’s various recent public appearances in the state uploaded on his official YouTube channel. One such video of Modi’s speech at the launch of development projects in Modhera, Gujarat, dated October 9, 2022, showed him in the same attire as seen in the viral clip.
Around 33:15 minutes in the video, we spotted the same snippet of PM Modi’s address as seen on the screen in the viral clip. Thus, concluding that the viral footage is associated with the Prime Minister’s recent address in Modhera.
Footfall At PM Modi’s Modhera Event
Next, we looked up at visuals from PM Modi’s Modhera event to ascertain whether most of the seats during his address were vacant or not. In the video uploaded on Modi’s YouTube channel, a brimming audience can be seen seated at the venue, and the chants of “Modi, Modi” can be heard in the background.
Further, we found that the entire event was live streamed on the official Facebook page of Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel. A jam-packed audience can be seen throughout the video.
CM Patel also shared pictures from the event showing a massive gathering.
Gujarat BJP also shared the images from the Modhera event on Twitter.
PM Narendra Modi was on a trip to Gujarat from October 9-11. On day 1, he laid the foundation stone and dedicated multiple projects worth over ₹3,900 crore in Modhera. Multiple news outlets reported on the same and covered his address to the public. Such reports can be seen here, here, here and here.
We could thus conclude that Modi’s Modhera event witnessed a huge footfall.
We further continued our investigation to find the truth behind the viral video.
Where Was The Video Shot?
We compared the keyframes of the viral video with visuals of the Modhera event’s venue where PM Modi addressed the gathering and found several similarities. The structure of the rally venue, composition of chairs, placement of speakers and barriers in the viral clip were the same as seen in visuals from PM’s Modhera address.
Truth Behind Seeming Difference In Background
In the video shared by PM Modi’s YouTube channel, the stage carries a backdrop that shows the pictures of PM and Gujarat CM Patel, with Gujarati text. No such backdrop can be seen in the viral video.
But on closely analysing the original video from the event, one notices that the backdrop is actually a white screen, and not a banner and that the images of the PM & CM were actually projected on the screen using a projector. These projections also changed a few times during the event.
Video Was Shot After The Event Was Over
A closer look into the viral video shows an empty stage. Neither PM Modi nor any other digintairy were seen in the clip, indicating that none of them were physically present at the venue when the video was shot.
Also, 25 seconds into the viral video, when one observes the screen telecasting Modi’s speech, a large crowd can be seen sitting and listening to the PM speak even though the viral video shows empty chairs.
In addition, people can be seen exiting the venue signalling that the event has ended by the time of shooting the video.
Newschecker Gujarati team reached out to BJP Gujarat’s Spokesperson Yamal Vyas who was present at the event. He told us that a massive crowd had gathered to see PM Modi in Modhera. Vyas confirmed that “the visuals show the venue after the event was over.”
Newschecker Gujarati team further got in touch with Shravan Nai, an MSC student at Sidhpur Patan Gurukul College, who attended Modi’s address in Modhera on October 9. Corroborating Vyas’ statement, Shravan Nai said, “There was a huge crowd at the event and the video was taken when the rally was over and only video screening was on.”
Many Videos Viral With Similar Claims
We also came across another video claiming to show people leaving the public meeting as soon as PM Modi’s address started. In the clip, people can be seen exiting the venue while the PM’s speech is being telecasted in the background.
On carefully analysing the video, we heard PM Modi talking about the metro in the footage telecasted on the screen. Taking a clue, we conducted a keyword search for “PM Modi metro” on Google, which led us to a YouTube video uploaded on the official channel of Narendra Modi, dated September 30, 2022, titled ‘PM Modi’s speech at inauguration of Vande Bharat Express & Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project phase I.’
In the video PM Modi can be seen in the same attire as in the footage displayed on the screen. Additionally, the stage’s backdrop was also identical. Notably, a huge audience can be seen sitting as the PM begins his address.
Further, a Google search for “PM Modi,” “Vande Bharat Express” & “Ahmedabad Metro Rail” yielded an article published on the official website of Narendra Modi, dated September 30, 2022, titled ‘PM Modi inaugurates Vande Bharat Express & Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project phase I.’ The article carried several photographs from the event. One such image shows PM Modi waving at a huge crowd at the venue.
On comparing the keyframes of the viral video and the image we found several similarities. The same can be seen below.
It is likely that the viral footage was taken after the PM’s address was over. As can be seen from the YouTube video, the venue was filled with a massive crowd while PM Modi was delivering his speech.
Newschecker is also trying to reach out to those who attended the event. This article will be updated on receiving a comment from them.
We could thus conclude that the viral video claiming to show a large number of empty seats at PM Modi’s Gujarat rally is misleading. The video was shot after the event was over.
Result: Missing Context
Video Uploaded On YouTube Channel Of Narendra Modi, Dated October 9, 2022
Facebook Post By Bhupendra Patel, Dated October 9, 2022
Telephonic Conversation With BJP Gujarat’s Spokesperson Yamal Vyas On October 12, 2022
Telephonic Conversation With Shravan Nai On October 12, 2022
Video Uploaded On YouTube Channel Of Narendra Modi, Dated September 30, 2022
Article By Narendra Modi’s Official Website, Dated September 30, 2022
(With inputs from Prathmesh Khunt of Newschecker Gujarati team)
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