‘Not in Any Party’: Athlete Anju George on Reports of Joining BJP
News agency ANI had tweeted that athlete Anju George had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
News agency ANI had tweeted that athlete Anju George had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.(Photo: Facebook/BJP Karnataka/Altered by The Quint)

‘Not in Any Party’: Athlete Anju George on Reports of Joining BJP

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CLAIM

On Saturday, 6 July, news agency ANI tweeted a picture of former Olympic long jumper Anju Bobby George, and claimed that she has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of BJP state unit President BS Yeddyurappa.

ANI tweeted that India’s first athletics medalist has joined BJP.
ANI tweeted that India’s first athletics medalist has joined BJP.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ANI)

The speculation started after the former Olympian attended the BJP’s membership drive in Bengaluru.

An archived version of the tweet can be seen here.

Several users on Twitter, too, shared the news.

TRUE OR FALSE?

The claims made in the ANI tweet are false. Anju George confirmed to The Quint that she has not joined the BJP and said that sports is her “only party”.

(Photo: Aroop Mishra/ The Quint)
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WHAT WE FOUND OUT

Speaking to The Quint, Anju George said that she had gone there to meet a minister and had not joined any party.

“I don’t want to make a big issue out of it. I simply went there to meet a minister and they greeted me. I am not from any party. Sports is my party. Media outlets have mistaken the picture.”
Anju Bobby George, former Olympic long jumper

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The same was reiterated by the Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V Muraleedharan who also dismissed the reports of Anju George joining the saffron party.

“I have had a long association with Anju and her husband Robert Bobby George. Yesterday, I had a party programme in Bengaluru. She called me and asked if we could meet to which I agreed,” Muraleedharan was quoted as saying by The News Indian Express.

He also added that when she arrived the event was about to begin so he invited her to the dais.

ANI MISQUOTES BJP MEDIA CONVENOR, ADDS TO CONFUSION

The situation become more confusing on Monday when ANI quoted BJP Karnataka media convener S Shantaram saying, “The party state president announced that she had joined the BJP. Don’t know why she changed stand. Doesn't she know meaning of taking flag on stage from president?”

The archived version of the tweet can be seen here.

However when The Quint contacted Shantaram for clarity he told us that the news agency had misquoted him. But he added that there was a slight confusion on Saturday as Anju George accepted the flag from the BJP state president.

Shantaram further added:

“She was there just to meet the Central Minister V Muraleedharan. Anju called me also and clarified that she has not joined BJP.”
S Shantaram, media convener of BJP Karnataka

BJP Karnataka had shared images of the membership drive in which several local leaders had participated.

On 6 July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched BJP’s membership drive from Varanasi which is his Lok Sabha constituency, claiming that it will help in connecting people from various walks of life with the party.

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MEDIA OUTLETS GOT IT WRONG

Several news organisations, including The Quint, picked up ANI’s tweets and reported the same. The organisations include DNA, Deccan Chronicle, India Today and NDTV. However, NDTV later updated its story.

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