Two images, showing Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on a buggy with LuLu Group International Chairperson and Managing Director Yusuff Ali MA are going viral on social media.
The claim states that Yusuff Ali MA sat on the backseat of the buggy while Kerala chief minister sat ahead with his chauffeur, but Ali 'became the chauffeur' for Adityanath.
This comes amid the ongoing controversy linked to LuLu Mall, where a video of a group of people offering namaz had gone viral. Since then, four people have been arrested in the case.
However, we found that the claim misidentifies the Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, as the 'chauffeur.' Vijayan's image with Zeyoudi dates back to December 2021 when the latter visited LuLu Mall in Thiruvananthapuram during its inauguration ceremony.
The claim with the viral post said, "In Kerala: Yusuff Ali made Pinarayi to sit with his chauffeur and he sat behind like a boss! In UP: Yusuff Ali became the chauffeur himself and drove Yogi ji around!! Many in Kerala are unhappy about this. (sic)"
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
On conducting a reverse image search on the photo showing Vijayan, we came across an article by The Hindu published on 16 December 2021.
The article carried the same image and identified the men in the picture as – UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, UAE Ambassador to India Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Banna, and Yusuff Ali MA.
It mentioned that it showed the chief minister at the LuLu Mall in Thiruvananthapuram.
We then ran an advanced search on Vijayan's official Twitter account and found a tweet from 16 December 2021, where he had uploaded a picture with Zeyoudi in the same outfit.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, had also shared the images. He mentioned that these were taken during the inauguration of the LuLu Mall in Kerala.
WHAT ABOUT THE SECOND IMAGE?
A reverse image search on the second image led us to an article published on a Kerala-based news outlet Onmanorama on 11 July 2022.
The report stated that Adityanath inaugurated the Lulu Mall in Lucknow on 10 July 2022 and took a round of the mall on a buggy with Yusuff Ali.
The image was credited to news agency PTI.
Clearly, UAE's minister Zeyoudi was misidentified as Yusuff Ali's chauffeur who was sitting besides Pinarayi Vijayan on a buggy.