Cropped photo from 2021 shared as Rahul Gandhi taking part in ongoing farmer protests

By: Chandan Borgohain
February 16 2024

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Cropped photo from 2021 shared as Rahul Gandhi taking part in ongoing farmer protests

Screenshot of a post falsely linking a two-year-old photo of Rahul Gandhi with the recent farmers’ protest. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

The original photo is from 2021, showing Gandhi and other MPs driving a tractor to the Parliament to protest against the Centre’s three farm laws.

Claim ID 75dc15d2

What is the claim?

A photo depicting Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi seated behind the steering wheel of a tractor, accompanied by a group of individuals holding a flag and placards, is circulating on social media in connection with the ongoing 'Delhi Chalo' farmers' protest.

One Facebook user shared the photo (archived here) with the caption, "After the failure of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Khan Gandhi is leading the #fake_farmer_movement against the Modiji-led BJP government (translated from Assamese)."

A screenshot of the Facebook post sharing the viral photo can be seen here. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

The current farmers' protest in Delhi, dubbed "Farmer Protest 2.0," entered its fourth day on Friday, 16 February. Following the breakdown of negotiations with the government, thousands of farmers, represented by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (United Farmers' Front - Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, have gathered at the Shambhu border near Delhi to demand higher prices for their produce and a minimum support price (MSP).

However, the viral photo of Gandhi predates the ongoing farmers' protest in Delhi and was captured during the protests against the Centre’s then newly-passed farm laws in 2021 in Delhi.

What did we find?

A reverse image search led us to a report by The Times of India from July 2021 titled "Farm laws: Rahul Gandhi drives tractor to Parliament; theatrics, says BJP". According to the report, the photo was taken on July 26, 2021, when the Congress leader, accompanied by his party members, drove a tractor to the Parliament to protest against the then-introduced farm laws (now repealed) by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.

In the top right corner of the original photo, we can clearly see a placard with the text 'REPEAL FARM LAWS!' written on it, conclusively suggesting that the photo is from the anti-farm protest in 2021. The viral photo has been cropped to remove this portion from the frame.

Comparison of the viral photo and the original photo. (Source: Facebook/The Times of India/Screenshot)

We also found a report by Economics Times dated July 26, 2021, which, along with the viral photo, features three other similar photos from the same event showing a mask-wearing Gandhi on a tractor along with his fellow party members. According to the Congress, the protest was aimed at highlighting the issues of the farmers in Parliament. The report added that Congress parliamentarians Pratap Singh Bajwa, Ravneet Singh Bittu, and Deepinder Singh Hooda took part in the protest with Gandhi.

Based on these inputs, we were able to locate the photo in question, shared on Gandhi’s official Facebook page on July 26, 2021. The caption, when translated from Hindi, reads, "If you force them to sell their land, the tractor will run in the parliament—we will grow the crop of truth! Withdraw the anti-farm laws."

The photo was originally shared on social media by Rahul Gandhi in July 2021. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot)  

The user, in their claim, suggests that the photo in question was taken after the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' (Uniting India rally) led by Gandhi. However, our evidence conclusively shows this is not true. The photo was taken on July 26, 2021, whereas the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' started on September 7, 2022, in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari and ended in January 2023 in Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

The verdict

The viral photo was captured more than two years ago when Rahul Gandhi, along with other Congress leaders, protested against the Centre’s contentious farm laws. The photo has been cropped to falsely link it to the ongoing farmers’ protest. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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