On December 9, the All India Trinamool Congress' official Twitter handle shared a screenshot of a tweet from BJP4Bengal's verified handle, which quoted BJP's national president Jagat Prakash Nadda as saying that Rabindranath Tagore's birthplace is Visva-Bharati.
Based on the text in the screenshot, which stated "West Bengal is known for exchanging its ideas and Visva-Bharati is Rabindranath Tagore's birthplace", the TMC further took a dig at Nadda for a factually incorrect statement and accused the party of bringing in outsiders (bohiragawto) for campaigning in the state, who are unaware of its culture and heritage.
Rabindranath Tagore was born in erstwhile Calcutta's Jorasanko in 1861. Visva-Bharati is a central university that was founded by Rabindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan, West Bengal, in 1921.
AITMC's tweet reads in Bangla, "Kavi guru Rabindranath Tagore was born in 1861 at Jorasanko and he established Visva-Bharati 60 years later in 1921. Before coming to Bengal, outsiders should properly know Bengal's culture, history and tradition."
Hours later, the Bengal BJP handle quote tweeted AITCofficial and alleged the latter and current TMC MP Nusrat Jahan of spreading misinformation; the tweet featured a short video clip of Nadda's December 9 interaction in Kolkata where he can be heard saying "Tagore was born here (West Bengal)."
The BJP further accused the TMC of putting out a doctored screenshot of the tweet in a bid to show that Nadda erroneously claimed that Tagore was born in Visva Bharati.
BOOM found that the tweet put out by the BJP's Bengal unit on December 9 misquoted Nadda as saying that Tagore's birthplace is Visva Bharati. The tweet was later deleted.
JP Nadda was speaking at a virtual party offices inauguration event on December 9 in Kolkata. He is on a two-day tour of West Bengal to participate in events targeted to strengthen the party's cadre ahead of the Bengal Assembly election in 2021. Nadda's tour is part of a 120-day national tour, aimed at strengthening the party's presence across the country.
BOOM analysed JP Nadda's statement on Rabindranath Tagore and found that he said Tagore was born in West Bengal. We accessed an India Today news bulletin that covered JP Nadda's interaction. Nadda begins his address by congratulating all the party leaders and members. He then refers to the land of Bengal which belonged to personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore , Bankimchandra Chatterjee, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Rishi Aurobindo, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee among others.
Starting from 26 second mark, Nadda can be heard saying in Hindi: "From a political perspective, exchanging of ideas... this is the beauty of democracy. And West Bengal has been known for the exchange of ideas.... Vishwa Bharati is here... Rabindranath Tagore was born here. The way Tagore had given a new direction to the society, we all know it." This shows that Nadda did not refer to Tagore as being born in Visva-Bharati but in the state of West Bengal.
Additionally, BOOM found that BJP Bengal's tweet misquoting JP Nadda had later been deleted. We scanned through the latest replies of the tweets of @BJP4Bengal and found two replies to the now deleted tweet which questioned Nadda's comments on Tagore's birthplace.
In one tweet, a user Dr.Sloth, takes a dig at Nadda based on BJP's now deleted tweet. It reads in Bangla, "From today we will write Rabindranath Tagore's birthplace as Visva Bharati, not Jorasanko - Bhakts."
Another user, Rupam Roy, replied to the deleted tweet with a text in Bangla, which reads, "Don't you have any work other than insulting Bengal."
The same text cited in the viral screenshot of BJP Bengal, has been tweeted by several other party members.
Click here for an archive of BJP's state vice president, Anindya Raju Banerjee's tweet. The translated text reads: Exchanging ideas from political perspectives is the beauty of democracy. West Bengal is known for exchanging its ideas. Visva-Bharati is Rabindranath Tagore's birthplace: Sri @JPNadda #BengalWelcomesNadda.
(Original text in Bangla: রাজনৈতিক দৃষ্টিকোণ থেকে ধারণা বিনিময় করা গণতন্ত্রের সৌন্দর্য।পশ্চিমবঙ্গ তার ধারণাগুলি বিনিময় জন্য পরিচিত। বিশ্বভারতী হলেন রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুরের জন্মস্থান : শ্রী @JPNadda জী #BengalWelcomesNadda)
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