No, Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury did not ask people to 'vote for BJP' in Bengal

By: Rahul Adhikari
May 2 2024

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No, Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury did not ask people to 'vote for BJP' in Bengal

Social media post claims Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury ‘batted’ for BJP. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

The viral clip was taken from a speech by Chowdhury and edited out of context. The Congress leader wasn't actually asking people to vote for the BJP.

Claim ID e874111a

What is the claim?

A video making rounds on social media claims that Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a leader of the Indian National Congress, recently urged people to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the ongoing 2024 Indian general election. The viral clip features him stating that voting for the BJP is preferable to voting for the Trinamool Congress (TMC), West Bengal's ruling party.

A Facebook page, “The News বাংলা,” posted a 7:08-minute-long video report on the viral clip titled “Adhir Chowdhury is seeking votes for BJP against Trinamool, big news.” The video presenter repeatedly asserts that Chowdhury is “batting for BJP” and soliciting votes for the party.

The overlaid text in the video alleges that Chowdhury has started endorsing the BJP. The video has amassed over 24,000 views and 1,600 reactions. An archived version of the post is available here.

Screenshot of the viral post. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the claim is false. The viral video is a clipped version, and Chowdhury did not solicit votes for the BJP. He made a comparative statement between TMC and BJP, suggesting it would be better to vote for BJP than TMC. However, a more extended version of his speech reveals that he advised people not to vote for either BJP or TMC but for the Congress party.

How did we find the truth?

We discovered that the "Indian National Congress - West Bengal” Facebook page live-streamed Chowdhury’s full speech on April 30. According to the caption, Chowdhury addressed a rally in Lalgola of Jangipur, a Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district, in support of Congress-left candidate Murtaza Hossain, also known as Bokul. The speech lasts 26:29 minutes, and the viral clip is extracted from the 25:17-minute to 26:18-minute segment.

In the extended version, Chowdhury states, “This time over 400. Modi is not ranting about this anymore. Surveys say that Modi has already lost 100 seats and is likely to lose more. So, don’t make a mistake. It’s important to ensure Congress and the Left win. If Congress and the Left don’t win, secularism will be at risk in India. It’s better to vote for the BJP than the TMC. It’s much better to vote for the BJP than the TMC. So, not TMC, not BJP, vote for Bokul, who will stand by you through happiness, sorrow, and all seasons. You can trust Bokul, support him, pray for him, and bless him.”

After watching the complete speech, we noted that he did not endorse the BJP anywhere; instead, he explicitly asked people not to vote for the BJP and TMC. 

Congress issues clarification

We found that the West Bengal Congress (archived here) also posted a one-minute-long video from Chowdhury’s speech on its official X (formerly Twitter) account, stating that the viral video has been edited. The party added, “We have lodged an official complaint to ECI regarding this manufactured video, sought their intervention, and asked them to take appropriate penal action.”

On May 2, the Congress also issued a press release (archived here) stating that the viral clip was edited from Chowdhury’s speech and shared without providing the full context. The statement mentions that Chowdhury has repeatedly said during his election campaigns, “Trinamool and BJP are synonymous. Voting for Trinamool means voting for BJP because they both have a secret understanding. They go hand in hand.”

The verdict

A clipped video of Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury’s speech at a recent rally has been shared with false context, claiming that he was seeking votes for the BJP. This clip was extracted from a speech where Chowdhury was, in fact, advising people against voting for either the BJP or the TMC. Consequently, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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