Images going back to 2011 of Prime Minister Narendra Modi photographed outdoors with ducks have been revived and falsely shared as a PR stunt during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The photo is viral after Modi shared a video of himself posing and feeding peacocks at Lok Kalyan Marg, his official residence in Delhi. The viral images from a photoshoot, aim to show Modi reading newspapers, a book on Barack Obama, working on a laptop - all the while sitting in a garden surrounded by ducks.
BOOM found that the pictures are from a photo shoot dating back to 2012 and possibly older and from Modi's stint as the chief minister of Gujarat.
Social media users are sharing the images with captions that claim Modi is doing a public relations exercise and posing for pictures during a pandemic and as the cases of COVID-19 positive cases are on the rise. The captions read, 'The talent to read two books, a newspaper and the laptop simultaneously while posing for the perfect photograph. And that poise during a Pandemic. Impressed.'
Singer Caralisa Monteiro also tweeted the image linking the photo shoot to the pandemic to make the claim that it is recent.
An archive of a tweet is available here.
The talent to read two books, a newspaper and the laptop simultaneously while posing for the perfect photograph.— Caralisa Monteiro (@runcaralisarun) August 25, 2020
And that poise during a Pandemic.
Facebook users are sharing the post with a similar caption. An archive of the tweet is available here.
Archives of similar posts are available here and here.
The official Twitter handle of the Indian National Congress also shared a different image from the same photo shoot, showing Modi mock-shooting pictures of ducks. The caption read, 'Picture this: There's a global pandemic & economic recession but the leader of the 3rd most affected country is making PR videos instead of helping his people. Sounds unreal doesn't it? #BJPAbandonsStates.'
An archive of the tweet is available here.
Picture this: There's a global pandemic & economic recession but the leader of the 3rd most affected country is making PR videos instead of helping his people.— Congress (@INCIndia) August 26, 2020
Sounds unreal doesn't it? #BJPAbandonsStates pic.twitter.com/Kw5BZDUbcL
BOOM found that the photos date back to at least 2012 and also traced some of the images on the Narendra Modi official website dating back to 2011.
A reverse image search for the image of Modi sitting under a tree and reading a book, showed results for a similar image in the same setting of the photo shoot. The results showed the image on Amazon as the cover of an extract from author Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay's book on Modi - 'Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times' published in 2013.
The book a 47-page extract published in 2017, of Mukhopadhyay's book is titled, 'The Initiation' and shows Modi sitting under a tree and reading a newspaper, while surrounded by ducks on one side and some novels on the other and laptop. The image has the same setting as the viral image, with Modi wearing the same clothes and posing with the same books.
BOOM reached out to Mukhopadhyay, who confirmed that the viral image appeared in his book and he had sourced it from the Chief Minister's office from when Modi was the Gujarat CM. Mukhopadhyay said that the images were sent to him in 2012, adding, "I was sent the photos over mail and was informed that I could credit the pictures to the website 'narendramodi.in'. I don't know the exact year when the photos were clicked."
Mukhopadhyay also shared with us an extract from the mail sent to him by the CMO to confirm that that they were sent in 2012. BOOM has seen the email dated August 21, 2012 and given privacy concerns is not including it in the story.
The image is also included in the Mukhopadhyay's book with the caption, 'Modi on a quiet morning in Gandhinagar'. Below is the photo of Modi's image as it appears in the book and as sent to us by the author.
We also found photos from the same photoshoot, with Modi sitting under a similar tree, posing with the same things as in the viral image but wearing slightly different clothes on a 2012 blog published on Medium by Madhav Nalapat, editorial director of The Sunday Guardian. The piece, a duplicate of the article published by Nalapat in the Sunday Guardian is dated, January 8, 2012 and has four images, with three of them similar to the viral photos. The article is an interview of Modi conducted by Nalapat.
The second viral image shows Modi posing with ducks and has him posing with a camera and shows him seemingly trying to take pictures of the ducks in the garden. The image was tweeted by the official handle of Congress.
We found that this image dates back to atleast 2011 and was also uploaded on the official Narendra Modi site. A search with the keywords, Narendra Modi + ducks showed results for the same set of photos on the official site of Narendra Modi under the News Updates section with the photos titled, 'With my friends'.
The photos dated, 'May 10, 2011'' show Modi in two different outfits posing with ducks and the second image the same as the one tweeted by Congress.
The interview of Modi by Nalapat carried uploaded on Medium blog also has the same image shared by Congress and shows Modi photographing ducks and is captioned, "Narendra Modi turns photographer"'. Below is a screenshot of the same
Analysis of both the viral images shows that it is most likely from the same photo shoot and from the same location. The photos first appeared online in 2011 and are possibly older than that.
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