A morphed image of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has gone viral with a claim that she ‘walked’ away from her wheelchair, insinuating that her leg injury is just an election gimmick.
However, we found that some users had photoshopped the image to further the "drama" narrative.
Banerjee was injured after she was allegedly attacked while campaigning in Nandigram on 10 March. The incident has left the electorate divided and has also sparked a polarised debate on social media with some believing that she was attacked while others calling it a "drama".
Several users shared the image with the caption, “Plaster on the leg on the first day, crepe bandage after cutting the plaster on the second day, and a miracle on the third day, she’s standing on her feet,” in Hindi.
A Facebook page, ‘Ajit Kumar Doval : The Pride of India’ had garnered over 4,100 likes and 1,400 shares at the time of writing this article.
The image was shared widely on Facebook and Twitter.
Aashif Qureshi, who identifies himself as the Vice-President of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in Rajasthan’s Bidasar, had garnered over 4,100 likes on his tweet, at the time of writing this article.
The image was also shared by Anusha Binny, calling it a "miracle".
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
A reverse image search after cropping Banerjee from the viral image led us to The Quint’s article dated 19 May 2016, carrying the original image, attributed to news agency Reuters.
Through a keyword search, we came across the original image on Reuters. It was taken on 13 June 2012 by photographer B Mathur and shows Banerjee walking out of Sonia Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi after a meeting.
A comparison of the viral image with the original one can be seen below.
Further, we found that the original image, which shows her being wheeled out of the hospital in Kolkata, in an article by Business Standard.
A comparison of the original image with the photoshopped image can be seen below.
The 2012 image has been edited to make it appear as though she’s wearing a saree with a darker-blue border, similar to the one the TMC Chief was wearing upon being discharged from the SSKM hospital.
Similar visuals of Banerjee being discharged can be seen below.
The incident in Nandigram, which catalysed BJP leader Yashwant Sinha to join TMC may become a tipping point for the Assembly elections in West Bengal. While the ECI has ruled out an "attack”, a CVoter opinion poll shows that 44.2 percent of around 1,500 respondents believe Banerjee’s claim that she was “attacked” and 39.2 percent don’t.
Amid this debate, the image being circulated on social media of the Chief Minister “walking", has been clearly photoshopped.