An old image of Union Home Minister Amit Shah meeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's home has resurfaced with claims that the two met to discuss upcoming Bengal elections. The two leaders have otherwise been critical of each other for their political moves.
BOOM found that the photograph was taken in February this year, when Shah met Banerjee along with chief minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan at Patnaik's home. Netizens have accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) of teaming up against Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in the 2021 Bengal legislative Assembly elections, based on this image. The viral posts also take a dig at Owaisi being called an agent of BJP .
Owaisi announced recently that AIMIM will contest the Bengal elections.
The picture shows the ministers sitting at a large dining table and enjoying a lavish meal. The caption of the viral image translates to, ''Discussion on Bengal elections over breakfast. But the blind Owaisi will be called the agent... Who is actually BJP's agent, you must have time to see who is sitting and eating food, it is time to understand brother, they are all the same people, they are fooling everyone. They say Owaisi is the agent of BJP, first see then speak.''
(Original caption in Hindi: ''ब्रेक फास्ट पे बंगाल चुनाव पर चर्चा. लेकिन अंधे ओवैसी को ही बोलेंगे एजेंट... यह कौन बीजेपी का एजेंट है आपको समय आता होगा देखो जो बैठा हुआ खाना खा रहे हो कौन है समझने का वक्त है भाई यह सब एक ही लोग हैं यह सब को बेवकूफ बना रहे हैं बोलते ओवैसी बीजेपी का एजेंट है पहले देखो तब बोलो'')
The post is also viral with a similar caption, ''Discussion on Bengal elections on Break fast. But blind Owaisi will be called agent...'' (Original caption in Hindi: ''ब्रेक फ़ास्ट पे बंगाल चुनाव पर चर्चा.
लेकिन अंधे ओवैसी को ही एजेंट बोलेंगे ...'')
Archive of the post can be seen here.
BOOM ran a reverse image search on the image and found a news report by The Times Of India with the same image published on February 28, 2020. According to the report, the meeting took place at Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's residence. It was hosted by Patnaik after the Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) meeting in Bubaneshwar, Odisha. EZC is a forum of eastern states. According to an NDTV news report, Shah chaired the meeting.
We also found a Facebook post and a tweet by Patnaik mentioning about the lunch he hosted at his residence, Naveen Niwas. In his post Patnaik states, ''Such a pleasure having the company of Union Home Minister Amit Shah ji, my colleague CMs, Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar ji & Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan ji at Naveen Niwas. Had a wonderfully interactive time over some home cooked #Odia delicacies.''
Local news media, Orissa Diary also covered the event in a report from February 28, 2020.