By: Annie Priya
January 27 2023
A photo of Congress leaders with the party manifesto for 2018 Telangana polls has been shared with a communal spin.
A photo of a purported newspaper clip in Kannada listing ten bullet points below an image of three Congress politicians, including veteran leader Jairam Ramesh, holding copies of a booklet is going viral on Twitter. Several posts implying that the party has announced sops only for Muslims and that if elected to power, it will only focus on non-Hindus have shared the photo just days before the Congress released a 10-point manifesto for coastal Karnataka. Twitter user Murali Purshotham shared the photo of the clip with a caption in Kannada that read: "This is what Congress will do if it comes to power; its manifesto is not for Hindus, implying that they are directly telling the Hindus that we will not give them anything." The user also tagged the Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The newspaper clip was also shared by Chiru Bhat—who, according to his Twitter bio, works as a journalist for the Kannada newspaper Hosa Digantha. Bhat's tweet also had communal undertones. Together, the two tweets have garnered hundreds of likes and thousands of views. Many others have shared the clip with false, communal narratives.
Though we could not trace when and where the clip was published, through reverse image search, we found that the photo of Congress leaders in it was published by news outlets in November 2018. Crediting news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), on November 28, 2018, The New Indian Express had on its website published an image of five Congress leaders holding copies of a booklet in a report headlined: "Telangana Congress plans annual report on the status of the election manifesto." The photograph was taken during the launch of Congress's manifesto in Hyderabad ahead of the Telangana assembly elections in 2018. The photo used in the news clip is a cropped version of this photograph that shows Jairam Ramesh with Uttam Kumar Reddy, member of parliament and former president of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee, and three other leaders.
We also found a video of the Congress leadership releasing the Telangana manifesto in 2018 on YouTube. Telugu news channel HMTV, on November 27, 2018, uploaded a video report of the event on its channel with the title: "Jairam Ramesh releases Congress manifesto at Gandhi Bhavan."
While Logically couldn't verify the authenticity of the newspaper clip independently, it is clear that the now-viral picture shown in it is from the launch of the Congress's manifesto for the 2018 elections in Telangana and is not related to the upcoming Karnataka elections.
Moreover, the claims about the manifesto have been misrepresented and have been given a communal spin in the reported newspaper clip and the posts sharing it. A study of the manifesto that the Congress had released for Telangana shows that not only promises made by the Congress to other communities, such as Dalits, and Adivasis, have been omitted, but several so-called “pro-Muslim" promises were concocted. Congress had not mentioned any alleged exclusive benefits for Muslims— including special government job opportunities for Muslim youths, Muslim-only hospitals etc—in its Telangana manifesto. At the time of the release of the Telangana Congress manifesto, multiple fact-checks debunked such claims and showed that news outlets, including satellite news channels, had picked a handful of schemes and misrepresented their promised outcomes.
Additionally, news reports on the 10-point manifesto released for coastal Karnataka do not mention any poll promises made exclusively for Muslims or any other religious community. According to a Hindustan Times report, the manifesto focuses on “creating jobs, attracting investments, developing the tourism industry, and creating harmony in society.” BK Hariprasad, opposition leader in the Karnataka Legislative Council, released the manifesto on January 22, 2023. Assembly elections in Karnataka are expected to be held before May, 2023.
An old picture of Congress leaders releasing the manifesto ahead of the 2018 Telangana elections has been shared with a communal spin. Neither the 2018 manifesto for Telangana nor the recently-released 10-point manifesto for coastal regions in Karnataka focuses exclusively on Muslims or any other community. Therefore, we mark this claim false.