Photo of President Giving Bharat Ratna to LK Advani Viral With Misleading Claims

Other visuals from the ceremony show President Murmu was seated before and after presenting LK Advani with the award

3 min read

After the President of India's official X (formerly Twitter) account shared visuals of President Droupadi Murmu conferring veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani with the Bharat Ratna, social media users shared one of the images to insinuate that Murmu had been disrespected by PM Modi and Advani by sitting on chairs while she remained standing.

  • Some users have shared to photo implying that both BJP leaders disrespected President Murmu, who constitutionally holds the highest office in India, by sitting down while she continued to stand.

Other visuals from the ceremony show President Murmu was seated before and after presenting LK Advani with the award

An archive of this post can be seen here.

(Source: X/Screenshot)

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi and Trinamool Congress' MP Jawhar Sircar also shared the photograph on their X accounts.

(Archives of more posts sharing this photo with similar claims can be seen here, here, and here.)

But...?: The photograph is being shared with a misleading claim, as it fails to provide context.

  • As per other available visuals, President Murmu stood to confer the Bharat Ratna to LK Advani, and was seen seated before and after doing so.

  • Further, the President is often the only dignitary standing while giving out awards during various award ceremonies.

How did we find out?: We looked for more visuals of the ceremony on the President of India's official X account, '@rashtrapatibhvn'.

  • Sharing four photos in a thread, the posts mentioned that the ceremony was held at Advani's residence, which was attended by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar, PM Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, among others.

  • The fourth photo shared in this thread showed President Murmu, LK Advani, and PM Modi seated.

  • Since this photo shows a medal around Advani's neck, it shows that the President was seated after presenting him with the honour.

Other visuals from the ceremony show President Murmu was seated before and after presenting LK Advani with the award

One of the photos showed all of them sitting down.

(Source: X/@rashtrapatibhvn)

We found more visuals of the ceremony on the President of India's verified YouTube channel, which confirmed that President Murmu was seated before presenting Advani with the Bharat Ratna.

As per a report by The Hindu, the ceremony – which usually takes place at Rashtrapati Bhavan – was conducted at Advani's residence due to his "restricted mobility" and "frail health."

Notably, Advani is the only living recipient of the award in 2024.

Others receiving the honour are former Prime Ministers PV Narasimha Rao, Chaudhary Charan Singh, former Bihar CM Karpoori Thakur, and agrarian economist MS Swaminathan. They have all been given it posthumously.

The President of India and awards: We referred to other videos on this channel to see whether it was common for the President to be the only dignitary who stands while presenting awards.

  • In another video showing the 2024 Bharat Ratna awards, we saw that President Murmu and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary were the only leaders standing while the former collected the honour on behalf of his late grandfather, Chaudhary Charan Singh.

We also came across videos from other events, such as this highlight video of the 2023 National Sports and Adventure Awards, which showed President Murmu and the awardees standing, while most of the attendees were seated.

We noticed the same pattern in a video of the President posthumously awarding the former Uttar Pradesh CM Mulayam Singh Yadav with a Padma Vibhushan, where the only leaders standing were Akhilesh Yadav – who received the award on behalf of his late father – and the President.

  • With these videos, we were able to gather that it is not standard or expected protocol for other leaders, apart from recipients, to stand while the President confers awards onto people.

  • In the context of the claim, it is understood that Advani was unable to stand due to his "frail health."

Conclusion: A photo of the President of India presenting the Bharat Ratna to LK Advani has gone viral with the false claim that he, and PM Modi 'disrespected' the President by sitting down while she remained standing.

(Note: This article was updated on 1 April 2024, to show examples of general protocol that is observed during events when the President of India confers awards to people.)


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