A newspaper clipping from 2017 when current Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said if was fine if people did not want to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but they should not throw shoes at them, is viral and being linked to upcoming assembly elections this month.
BOOM found that the newspaper clipping is from 2017 when Singh was the Home Minister. The remark was made during a campaign rally in Punjab. The statement was made by Singh when he was condemning an incident of people throwing shoes at the then Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal during a public speech.
The clipping is viral as elections for five states including Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are to be held starting from February 10, 2022.
The clipping in Hindi is headlined, 'वोट नहीं देना मत दो लेकिन जूते तो मत चलाओ – राजनाथ' which loosely translates to 'It is fine if you don't want to vote but don't throw shoes - Rajnath' and is being shared on Facebook and Twitter with the same text in the caption.
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We read through the viral clip and found that it refers to Rajnath Singh as Home Minister and also to an incident where shoes were hurled at Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Badal was the chief minister of Punjab from 2007 to 2017 and Rajnath Singh was the home minister from 2014-2019, it is clear that the clipping is old. Using relevant keywords we ran a search and found news reports about a shoe thrown at Badal in January 2017 during his last tenure as the chief minister of Punjab at the Ratta Khera village in Lambi Assembly constituency.
Badal, a member of the Shiromani Akali Dal was campaigning for the February 4, 2017 assembly polls in Punjab having partnered with the BJP for the polls.
A few days later, Rajnath Singh who was campaigning in Punjab for the BJP-SAD alliance referred to the incident in one of his rallies and said that it was okay if people did not want to vote, but they should not throw shoes at the leaders.
We found a news report published on January 25, 2017 in NDTV's Hindi site which had the same statement by Rajnath in the headline.
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