Edited photo from 2017 shared as visual from INDIA bloc’s recent rally

By: Soham Shah
March 5 2024

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Edited photo from 2017 shared as visual from INDIA bloc’s recent rally

X posts claiming that the photo shows a huge crowd at the INDIA block rally in Patna. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

A photo from the ‘BJP Hatao Desh Bachao’ rally held in Patna in 2017 was edited to show ‘Jan Vishwas Maha' rally held by INDIA bloc at the same venue.

Claim ID e4b53139

What is the claim?

A low-resolution photograph of a massive gathering is circulating on social media as a visual from a rally organized by India’s leading opposition bloc. Sharing the photo, social media users have claimed that it shows “more than 10 lakh people” at the Congress-led INDIA bloc's ‘Jan Vishwas Maha' rally. 

Multiple posts on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) shared the photo claiming that it showed Gandhi Maidan, a ground in Patna, the capital of the eastern Indian state of Bihar, overflowing with people during the INDIA bloc’s recent rally on March 3. Archived links to such posts can be accessed here and here.

The INDIA bloc, which comprises 26 opposition parties, kicked off its campaign for the upcoming general elections at the ‘Jan Vishwas Maha' rally. This March 3rd rally was reportedly hosted by the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and was attended by a slew of top opposition leaders of the country. 

However, the viral image is an edited version of a photo taken in 2017. 

Viral image is old

Using reverse image search, we found that the viral image had been shared by former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and RJD supremo on his official X (then Twitter) account in August 2017. Lalu had used the photo (archived here) to show the strength of the crowd and the support of his base at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, where his party held a rally against the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), with the slogan “BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao.” 

This shows that the image in question is old.

Viral image is edited

More importantly, news outlets like The Indian Express had reported that several social media users had alleged that the image Yadav shared was edited. Images of the crowd at different times published by news agency ANI were used as reference by many to question the veracity of the photo tweeted out by Yadav, said the newspaper. The ANI images did show a smaller crowd than the now-viral image shared by Yadav in 2017.

We also checked similar images of the event published by PTI. In PTI’s images too, we did not see the ground full to the brim as seen in the viral photo, indicating digital manipulation. 

We did an independent analysis of the viral image to confirm that it had been digitally altered to show a larger crowd. Near the top right corner of the image, a section of the crowd is assembled in an unnatural oval shape, and the gathering’s depiction covers some trees around it, proving that the photo has been edited.

A visibly edited portion of the crowd as seen in the viral photo. (Source:X/ Modifiedby Logically Facts)

What about the original image?

Upon further research, we were able to trace the exact photo, which was most likely used as a base to create the edited photo, earlier shared by Yadav and now viral as an image from the recent INDIA bloc’s ‘Jan Vishwas Maha' rally. The original photo was posted on Facebook on August 28, 2017, by a user named Shamsheer Ahmed without any caption. 

We compared this FB image with a PTI photo of the August 2017 rally hosted by Lalu Yadav and his party. The crowd in both images is gathered in the same pattern and shows the same line of trees towards the far right end of the ground. Both images show the same yellow and blue tarpaulin-covered tents or camp-like structures near the stage. All this confirms that the Facebook image is from the same 2017 Patna rally that was covered by PTI and other news organizations.

Comparison of photos of the 2017 Patna rally shared by PTI and the image on Facebook. (Source: Financial Express/PTI, Facebook)

Next, we compared the viral image and the image posted on Facebook and spotted the same camp-like structure in the former. The position of some vehicles and people walking on the road were the same in both photos indicating the images are almost identical except for the viral picture showing a bigger crowd.

Comparison of the viral image and the Facebook photo. (Source:X/Facebook)

It is clear that the Facebook photo from 2017 was edited to first show a bigger crowd at Yadav’s ‘BJP Hatao, Desh Bachao’ rally held at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, on August 27, 2017, and then it was reshared to claim it showed visuals from the recent ‘Jan Vishwas Maha’ rally.

The verdict

We have marked this claim as false as the viral image is an edited version of a photo taken during a rally held at Gandhi Maidan in Patna in 2017. It has no connection with the recent INDIA bloc's rally at the same venue.

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