A graphic showing a photo of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh with a quote is going viral on social media, ahead of Assembly elections in the state, polling for which begins on 17 November.
The claim: The graphic, carrying the quote "The cow is not our mother. There is nothing wrong with eating its meat," in Hindi is being attributed to Singh.
It also calls the senior Congress leader as an "anti-Hindu person" who rubs shoulders with "terrorists."
Some users have also shared a video of Singh saying the statement in the claim.
Did he say that?: The viral claim is misleading as Singh was quoting text written by Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (also known as Veer Savarkar).
The statement dates back to 25 December 2021, when Singh spoke at an event in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
At the event, while speaking about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Singh is heard quoting a line about consuming beef from Savarkar's book.
How did we find out?: Using the Hindi quote as a search term, we looked for more information on the statement.
This led us to an article published by Dainik Bhaskar two years ago on 25 December 2021, which carried the statement with a video of Digvijaya Singh.
Its headline mentioned that Singh took his statement from a book by Veer Savarkar, attacking the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for their stance on consuming beef.
As per this report, he made this statement at Congress' Jan Jagran Abhiyaan campaign in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on 25 December 2021, mentioning that Savarkar's book said that consuming beef was not a problem as the animal rolls around in its own filth.
We came around a video of Singh's statement on Live Hindustan's verified YouTube channel, where the part related to the claim can be heard at the 1:08-minute mark.
In this report, he is first heard talking about India's diversity, remarking on how Hindus too, consume beef, "and question where it is written that beef should not be consumed. There are other Hindus who are against killing cows."
"Savarkarji, – who is well-respected in the BJP – in his own book, has written that the Hindu religion has no connection with Hindutva. He says this himself clearly. It is also written that the cow is such an animal which rolls around in its own dirt, so how can it be our mother, and there is nothing wrong with consuming its meat. These are Savarkar's own words, who is BJP and RSS' special ideologue."Digvijaya Singh at an event in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on 25 December 2021
Media agency ANI had also shared a video of Singh's statement on their X (formerly Twitter) account.
The Quint had previously fact-checked this statement in January 2022, when a clipped video of Singh's statement was shared without context.
Conclusion: An old statement by former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, where he was quoting a book by Veer Savarkar, is being shared with false context ahead of the 2023 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections.