An image of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, former captain of the Indian cricket team, on a tractor, is being circulated with the claim that he supported the tractor rally taken out by the agitating farmers on 26 January. However, we found that the image is from June 2020 and is not related to the ongoing protests.
A part of the claim reads: “भारत के क्रिकेट टीम के पुर्व कप्तान महेंद्र सिंह धोनी ने किया किसान टैक्टर परेड का समर्थन!! किसान आंदोलन.. जय जवान जय किसान”
(Translated: Former captain of the Indian cricket team Mahendra Singh Dhoni supports farmers’ tractor parade. Farmers protest... Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan)
The image was circulated on Facebook and Twitter with the same claim.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
A Google reverse image search on the image led us to news articles from June 2020. A News18 article dated 7 June 2020 carried the viral image and mentioned that Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra Group, had called Dhoni a ‘good decision maker’ for adding company’s Swaraj tractor to his fleet.
In response to Dhoni purchasing Mahindra’s Swaraj tractor, Anand Mahindra, on 6 June 2020, had tweeted: “I’ve always thought the man is a good decision-maker with the perfect sense of judgment.”
Further, the official handle of Chennai Super Kings had tweeted a video on 2 June 2020 in which the same visuals as that in the viral image can be seen.
The Express report mentioned that Dhoni had reportedly been into farming during the coronavirus lockdown and “the Swaraj 963 FE will now help him drive around his 7-acre farmhouse in hometown Ranchi.”
It is pertinent to note that the three farm bills were passed by Parliament in September 2020, while the viral image is from June 2020.
Evidently, the image of Dhoni on a tractor is being falsely linked to the ongoing farmers’ agitation.