A newspaper clipping with the headline "Don't vote if you don't want to, but don't throw shoes: Rajnath" is being shared across social media platforms ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab as a recent statement by the defence minister.
However, we found that Singh made the remark in 2017 while speaking at a public rally in Punjab, after a shoe was thrown at former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at a gathering in Bathinda.
In his full address, Singh is heard denouncing the act, saying "don't vote for Badal sahab, don't vote for BJP if you don't want to, but will you turn violent and throw shoes and lathis? Is this your humanity?"
The newspaper clipping is being shared across social media platforms, where some users are making light of Union Minister Singh's statement.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We read the article and saw that it referred to 'Home Minister' Rajnath Singh speaking in Abohar in Punjab's Fazilka, where he condemned an incident from 'a few days ago', when a shoe was thrown at 'Chief Minister' Parkash Singh Badal.
Rajnath Singh headed the Home Ministry from 2014 to 2019 and Parkash Singh Badal has been a four-time Chief Minister of Punjab, with the latest run spanning a decade from 2007 to 2017.
Using relevant keywords, we looked up the shoe incident with respect to Badal and came across a news report by Jansatta dated 24 January 2017 with the same headline as the claim.
Looking for more details on social media, we came across a Twitter thread by news agency ANI published on the same day, which also carried Singh's statement.
Next, we looked for a video of the address using the location and date as clues. We found a 33-minute long version uploaded to Rajnath Singh's verified YouTube channel in 2017.
Here, the statement can be heard at the 9:51 timestamp in the video.
Evidently, an old article about Union Minister Rajnath Singh saying "Don't vote if you don't want to, but don't hurl shoes" is being shared on social media as a recent remark, ahead of the upcoming elections in Punjab.