(On 23 November 2021, a Delhi court ordered registration of an FIR against Bharatiya Janata Party national spokesperson Sambit Swaraj for posting a doctored video of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. This piece from The Quint's archives is being republished to show that the edited video falsely showed that Kejriwal had spoken in support of the three controversial farm laws.)
Bharatiya Janata Party’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted an edited version of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s interview to falsely claim that he had spoken in support of the three controversial farm laws against which the farmers have been protesting.
Twitter labelled the tweet as ‘manipulated media.’ This makes Patra the second BJP spokesperson against which the tech giant had to take action, after Amit Malviya.
Patra tweeted the video with the caption in Hindi, “Counting the benefits of all three farm bills… Sir.” It garnered over 5,64,400 views and 22,800 retweets at the time of writing this article.
In the viral clip, Kejriwal can be heard saying in Hindi, “With these Bill you won’t lose your land, your MSP won’t be taken away, your mandi (market) won't be taken away, now farmers can sell their crops anywhere in the country, now farmers will get good prices, he can sell it anywhere outside the mandi, Dilip ji this will be the biggest revolutionary step in the last 70 years in the agriculture sector.”
The video was also shared widely on Facebook, with a page ‘Last Over’ garnering over 10,000 views at the time of writing this article.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
The full version of the interview tweeted by Patra was shared by Zee Punjab Haryana Himachal on 15 January. Sections of this interview have been cut and edited to make it appear like Kejriwal had spoken in support of the farm laws.
In the interview Kejriwal takes a strong stance against the laws as evidenced from the beginning. At the time stamp 5:39, Kejrwial says, ‘these three Bills will snatch agriculture from these farmers and hand it over to a few capitalists.”
At around 5:55, Zee’s Jagdeep Sandhu questions Kejriwal about the Centre’s claims that the income of the farmers will be doubled.
To this, Kejriwal retorts, “How? BJP has fielded all its big leaders. Its senior ministers and chief ministers came forward to convince people that the bills will benefit the farmers. I have heard all of their speeches.”
Alluding to these speeches, Kejriwal says at around 6:22, “What do they say in these speeches? They say with these bills you won’t lose your land. This is not a benefit, the land was theirs anyway. Your MSP will not taken away. That’s not a benefit, this was always the case. Your mandi will not be taken away. This was also already there in the first place.”
He further criticises, “What is the benefit? Their leaders are not able to list even a single benefit. When probed further, they say now farmers can sell his crops anywhere in the country. That’s the only benefit they say right? Now, the farmer will get good prices, he can sell anywhere outside the mandi.”
Sections of this answer were cut out and edited together in the viral video.
Kejriwal continues, “I want to ask the Centre, with all due respect, today in Punjab and Haryana, the MSP for a quintal of wheat is Rs 1,800. There’s no mandi in Bihar. There the farmers sells it for Rs 800. Tell this farmer, selling in Rs 800, where he should go in this whole country outside of the mandi to make more than Rs 1,800.”
Further, in the last part of the viral clip, where Kejriwal calls a bill, ‘revolutionary,’ he’s actually referring to the farmers’ demands.
At around 9:48, he says, “The farmers are saying two things. They have found a solution, which is why I have a great hopes from this farmers’ protest. First, these three bills should be repealed. And second, a law guaranteeing MSP should be introduced. According to the Swaminathan Ayog, MSP should be calculated on the basis of 50 percent profit on the cost. If this happens, Dilip ji this will be the biggest revolutionary step in the last 70 years in the agriculture sector.”
Evidently, parts of Delhi CM Kejriwal’s interview were cut out and edited together in the viral clip to mislead the public that he supported the farm laws.