By: Rahul Adhikari
October 27 2023
Social media posts claiming Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan advocated for alcohol distribution in the state. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)
Shivraj Singh Chouhan's statement has been shared out of context. The viral clip was part of a longer video and shared with false claims.
As the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh gears up for the upcoming assembly elections, political parties have kicked off high-pitched offline and online campaigns to influence voters. As the election fever grabs the state, which will go to polls on November 17, misinformation around political figures has been on the rise at an alarming pace.
What is the claim?
A 17-second-long video circulating on social media is being used to claim that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is promoting the distribution of liquor in the state. The viral video purportedly shows Chouhan saying, "Farmers should not ask for loan waiver, youth shouldn't seek unemployment allowances, the poor should not talk about on the Sambal Yojna, no one should ask for chief minister kanyadan funds, and that's why distribute alcohol in the state in a way that they stay drunk and do not rise up again (originally in Hindi)."
The video is also overlaid with some text in Hindi that read, "Hindu CM Shivraj Singh Singh Chouhan Madhya Pradesh. He belongs to the nationalist party and can do anything for power." Several users shared the video on X (formerly Twitter) with the caption, "Make everyone drink alcohol so that no one talks about work. Wow Kansa Mama." One such post had garnered over 1,26,000 views and more than 3,300 likes at the time of publishing. An archived version of the post can be found here.
Surendra Rajput, who identified himself as the 'National Media Panelist of the Congress Party' on X, also shared the video on October 24, making similar claims. He wrote, "Farmers, youth and women should not talk about their rights. Therefore, spread liquor so much in the state that people drink it and remain down! (translated from Hindi)" An archived version of the post can be found here.
Screenshots of the viral posts on X. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, the viral clip has been cropped out from a longer video from 2020, and has been shared without proper context. Chouhan wasn't promoting liquor distribution but was actually complaining about the state alcohol policy under Congress that was ruling Madhya Pradesh at the time.
What did we find?
We found a much longer version of the viral video, shared from Chouhan's official X handle on January 12, 2020. The viral clip is a cropped section of the original video, which is more than 150 seconds long, shared by Chouhan. In the longer video, he was actually criticizing then Congress Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath, over several issues, including the opening of new alcohol shops.
Screenshot of the post shared by Shivraj Singh Chouhan in 2020. (Source: X)
In the original video, Chouhan said, "People are in distress. I just came from a fight for paddy in Tendukheda. Paddy is not getting sold, loans are not being waived, unemployment allowances are not being given, sand is stolen, the transport mafia is increasing, people's demands are not being fulfilled, and growth has taken a toll. Farmers and the poor are crying, and the government is busy opening liquor shops. The situation is very unfortunate and now we have started the fight, we will fight."
He complained about the opening of new liquor shops in the state and further said, "Why these alcohol shops? What is the need? But this government is running an alcohol mafia, creating alcohol policies. Whatever he is saying, they are doing it. People will be in distress, and huge transactions are also being made. I will not let this destruction of Madhya Pradesh happen, no matter how much I have to fight. I wrote two letters and requested him to take this decision back. He said if more shops are opened, then the illegal selling will be stopped. So, if you start home delivery, then the illegal selling will stop completely. Is this an argument? What is the excise department doing? What are they for? Why don't they stop selling illegal liquor? Will you start sending alcohol to people's houses? Liquor will make the young generation hollow and destroy the state." It was after these sentences that Chouhan says the bit captured in the viral clip, which has been shared without context.
The 2020 liquor policy
Congress leader Kamal Nath was the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh before Shivraj Singh Chouhan took over in March 2020. The Kamal Nath government had issued a notification allowing liquor shop owners to open sub-shops every 5 kilometers in municipal areas and every 10 kilometers in rural areas. The then opposition, led by Chouhan, protested this decision and then began a verbal war. Chouhan wrote letters to the Nath, urging him to reconsider the decision. The Congress government had stated that the new policy was implemented to ensure quality and prevent the sale of adulterated liquor.
This viral video was also circulated in 2020 with the same claim. Several fact-checking organizations had debunked the claim, proving that it is an altered video. According to a report by The Times of India, dated June 15, 2020, Madhya Pradesh Police had lodged a complaint against Congress leader Digvijay Singh and 11 others for circulating an alleged "edited" video of Chouhan.
An edited video of current Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan speaking against the Congress government's policies in January 2020 is being shared with false claims. Chouhan did not advocate for the distribution of liquor in the state, and the extended video actually shows him complaining about the opening of liquor shops.