Did PM Modi Credit Vajpayee For Starting India's First Metro? A FactCheck

BOOM found that the prime minister's statement was misquoted by news outlets and that he spoke about the Delhi metro.

Several Twitter users falsely claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi credited late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for starting India's first metro rail service, during his speech at the launch of India's first driver-less train for the Delhi Metro on Monday.

However, BOOM found that Modi's remarks were misquoted by news outlets namely - wire agency ANI (Asia News International) and news channel NDTV - both of whom issued corrections later.

Modi on December 28 launched the country's first driver-less train on the Magenta line of the Delhi Metro. The train will run between Janakpuri West in Delhi and Botanical Garden in Noida. The prime minister also launched the National Common Mobility Card on the occasion.

While reporting about the launch, NDTV attributed the following statement to Modi:

"First metro in the country was started due to the efforts of Atal Bihari Vajpayee," says PM Narendra Modi at inauguration event of India's first driver-less metro train on Delhi Metro's Magenta Line.

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Screenshots of NDTV's tweet soon took Twitter by storm. Several netizens accused NDTV of spreading fake news while others pointed out that Kolkata Metro, foundation stone for which was laid by then PM Indira Gandhi in 1972, was much older than the Delhi Metro.

The channel later issued a correction.

Wire agency ANI's tweet on the inauguration read 'First metro the country was started with the efforts of Atal Ji. When our govt was formed in 2014, only 5 cities had metro services & today 18 cities have metro rail service. By 2025, we will take this service to more than 25 cities: PM Narendra Modi'.

ANI also issued a correction later.

Newspaper Pioneer had carried the same statement attributing it to the PM.

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Fact Check

BOOM went through the 20-minute long inaugural address tweeted from the Prime Minister's official Twitter handle.

We found that at the timestamp of 3.50, Modi says in Hindi, "Discussion on Metro in Delhi went on for years but first metro plied due to the efforts of Atal ji'.

(Hindi: दिल्ली में ही मेट्रो की चर्चा बरसों तक चली | लेकिन पहली मेट्रो चली अटल जी के प्रयासों से |)

Throughout the video, at no place does the prime minister credit Atal Bihari Vajpayee for introducing metro rail services in the country.

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Vajpayee's Contribution in Delhi Metro

The idea of a mass rapid transit system for the national capital was first conceived from a traffic and travel characteristics study carried out in Delhi in 1969. The Delhi Development Authority and Urban Arts Commission came up with a plan for a multi-modal transport system in 1984.

As mentioned on the website of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, DMRC was set up jointly by the Central government and the government of National Capital Territory of Delhi on May 3, 1995 and the construction of Delhi metro started in 1998.

The first corridor of DMRC - between Shahdara and Tis Hazari - was opened up for the passengers by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on December 24, 2002.

A Hindustan Times report published on August 18, 2018 quoted former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit as saying that Vajpayee had fast tracked the Delhi metro project which was otherwise being stalled for years.

However, BOOM also found a news report published in The Tribune on December 23, 2002, a day before the inauguration of the first DMCR line - which quotes Dikshit (the Delhi CM) as saying that the 'BJP-led NDA government at the Centre and the Delhi Pradesh BJP was politicising what would be a "historic" event'.

India's First Metro

A keyword search 'India's first metro rail' returns several reports stating that Kolkata metro was the first planned and operational one to run in the country. The website of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation ltd states that the metropolitan transport project was initiated in 1969. The first stretch - around 3.4 km long stretch between Esplanade and Bhowanipur - on October 24, 1984. This stretch was going to be the first metro line in the country.

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Claim Review :   PM Modi said first metro in the country was started with the efforts of Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Claimed By :  ANI, NDTV
Fact Check :  False
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