A number of BJP functionaries are criticizing Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot while sharing a 5-second video in which Gehlot is being offered charanamrit by a temple priest and the former brings his hands near the mouth without taking off his mask. The video ends right at that moment. It is being claimed that the chief minister drank Charanamrit without taking off the mask. Laxmikant Bhardwaj, associated with BJP Rajasthan, made light of Gehlot’s intelligence while sharing this video. Taking a dig at the CM, he wrote that chief minister Gehlot was no less than Rahul Gandhi. (Archived link)
हमारे मुख्यमंत्री गहलोत जी को भी राहुल गाँधी से कम मत समझना । देखो 👇 pic.twitter.com/U7xMPtnlzn
— Laxmikant bhardwaj (@lkantbhardwaj) September 6, 2022
Senior editor of news agency ANI Payal Mehta shared the video questioning how one could consume charanamrit without taking off one’s mask.
— 🦏 Payal M/પાયલ મેહતા/ पायल मेहता/ পাযেল মেহতা (@payalmehta100) September 6, 2022
Those who promoted the video include journalists, BJP leaders, and other handles with a sizable follower count and reach on social media.
Journalists who amplified the Ashok Gehlot video
A number of journalists mocked Ashok Gehlot by comparing him to Rahul Gandhi. Sharat and Shubhankar Mishra of Aaj Tak, Aastha Kaushik and Shalini Kapoor Tiwari of News18, journalists Raghavendra, Sudhir Mishra, Himanshu Jha of Live Hindustan, Dainik Hint Editor Kapil Tyagi, Panchjanya’s Ashwani Mishra, Ayush Suryavanshi of News Nation and Satyam Dubey were among those amplifying the viral claim.
Media outlets who covered the video
Media outlets including Jansatta, Times Now Navbharat, ABP News, Zee News, Newsroom Post, Live Hindustan, RSS weekly magazine Panchjanya, and Prabha Sakshi shared the video. Based on the claims circulated on social media, they reported that Ashok Gehlot consumed charanamrit without taking off his mask.
BJP leaders also promoted the clip
BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor tweeted this video and wrote that Ashok Gehlot got his mask wet just for show and should be ashamed for insulting religious sentiments.
सुशील जी यह आपके या मेरे लियें आस्था का चरणामृत है@ashokgehlot51 जी जिस परिवार के पुजारी हैं उनके लियें यह पानी है – गहलोत ने दिखावे के लियें लिया मास्क गीला किया बात खत्म।
— Praveen Shankar Kapoor (@praveenskapoor) September 6, 2022
BJP MLA from Bihar Murari Mohan Jha, Madhya Pradesh BJP MP Shankar Lalwani, Shivraj Singh Dabi, BJP Bihar vice-president Mithilesh Kumar Tiwari, Devji Bhai Patel of BJP Chhattisgarh, Neeraj Jain of BJP Yuva Morcha, BJP MP Rameshwar Sharma, BJP spokesperson Brijesh Rai, Jitender Gothwal of BJP Rajasthan were among those who amplified the clip.
In addition, the handle @SocialTamasha, known to circulate misinformation in the past, and Hardik Bhavsar, who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also shared this video with the same claim. Actress Sherlyn Chopra wrote, “Ashok Gehlot’s idea of taking Charanamrit while wearing a mask is very unique.” Sharing this video, Supreme Court lawyer Shashank Shekhar Jha said that Hindu culture was a joke for Congress.
While fact-checking the claims, Alt News noticed that a few journalists had shared a longer version of the clip which was 14-second long, whereas the viral video was only 5-second long. In this video, Ashok Gehlot brings his hands near his mouth after taking the charanamrit offering. However, as soon as he realizes he is wearing a mask, he is seen removing it with one hand and taking the charanamrit with the other. This scene appears after the 0:05 mark in the longer video. Zee Rajasthan bureau chief Sushant shared the complete video.
राजस्थान के मुख्यमंत्री अशोक गहलोत के जैसलमेर जिले के रामदेवरा मंदिर में मास्क पहने हुए चरणामृत पीने के वायरल वीडियो का पूरा सच देखिए, मुख्यमंत्री @ashokgehlot51 चरणामृत हाथ में लेने के बाद पाँच सेकंड के बाद एक हाथ से मास्क हटाते हुए और दूसरे से चरणामृत लेते हुए दिख रहे हैं। pic.twitter.com/Fcx2CSZeOc
— sushant (journalist) (@pareek12sushant) September 6, 2022
News18 reported that Ashok Gehlot recently visited the Ramdevra temple in Jaisalmer. The priest at the temple gave him charanamrit, which is when the video was shot. This article also includes a statement by Ashok Gehlot in the context of the viral video. He states, “I don’t know where people get these videos. People who don’t work are the ones conspiring. I don’t know where that video is from. I don’t remember. How can someone drink water with a mask on?
— News18 Rajasthan (@News18Rajasthan) September 6, 2022
To sum it up, journalists, a range of media outlets and a number of BJP leaders falsely claimed that Ashok Gehlot was consuming charanamrit without removing his mask, based on a clipped five-second video. In reality, the part of the video in which he was drinking charanamrit after removing his mask was deliberately cropped out of the video in question. Aaj Tak also used a misleading title in its coverage of the incident carrying the five second long video. However, it later mentioned in a related article that Ashok Gehlot did indeed remove his mask. However, the article was titled, “CM Gehlot drinks Charanamrit without removing his mask! Video viral on social media”. Aaj Tak anchor Shubhankar Mishra deleted his earlier tweet and shared another video.
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