Two photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with artisans at a recent event are viral online. The first photo shows him speaking to some potters and claims suggest that one of them appears again to impersonate a cobbler.
BOOM found that the claims are false and the potter and cobbler are two separate individuals named Surendra Prajapati and Machendra Kamble respectively.
On September 17, 2023, PM Modi inaugurated the Yashobhoomi Convention Centre in Dwarka, Delhi. On this occasion, which also happened to be his birthday, he announced the PM Vishwakarma Scheme, that provided financial and training-related benefits to Indian artisans. At the event, an exhibition was organised where the PM was seen interacting with these artisans, including sculptors, labourers, cobblers, and potters.
Photos of Modi with the claim that he is interacting with an impostor posing as both the potter and cobbler are viral in this context. A caption on Facebook reads, "One man becomes a cobbler and potter on the same day, look at the extent of impersonation."
(Original text in Hindi: "एक आदमी एक दिन में मोची बन जाता है और कुम्हार भी,बहरूपियापन की हद देखिए।")
The post is also circulating on X (formerly Twitter).
BOOM found that there are clear distinctions between the facial features of the potter and cobbler and they are not the same person-- only their attire is similar.
We looked for more visuals of the PM's interaction with the artisans on YouTube and found a live stream by ANI on September 17. The video was titled 'Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicates 'Yashobhoomi' Convention Centre to Nation in Delhi'.
A clear visual of the cobbler can be seen at the 19:00 mark and the potter at the 19:13 mark.
We also found a Facebook video uploaded on the official page of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on September 18 that carried a byte of the cobbler. At the 0:01 mark of the video, he mentions that his name is Machendra Gangaram Kamble, and he hails from Belgaum, Karnataka.
We also found a Facebook post by Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad on September 20. While sharing a photo showing all the potters, the post mentioned how PM Modi was interacting with Baijnath Prajapati (seen in the yellow kurta) during the launch of the scheme.
Click here to view.
We then contacted Baijnath Prajapati, who revealed that the man beside him was Surendra Prajapati, who was helping him and the woman seen in the photo.
BOOM also reached out to Surendra Prajapati who confirmed that it was him in the visuals along with the other potters and that he was helping make the mud for the potters. "If you see us face to face, there is no resemblance in our features," he added.
Below is a comparison between the cobbler Machendra Kamble and potter Surendra Prajapati's faces: