A morphed screenshot of a Zee 24 Ghanta article is viral online with a false claim that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she is open to an alliance with Assaduddin Owaisi to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Cooch Behar.
The photoshopped article has been headlined as: "We will form an alliance with the MIM if needed. We will remove the BJP from Cooch Behar for sure, warned Mamata." (Translated from Bengali text: ‘‘প্রয়োজনে MIM এর সাথে জোট করবো, কোচবিহার থেকে বিজেপিকে সাফ করবোই. হুঙ্কার দিলেন মমতা’’
Below is the screenshot of the morphed image that is viral on Facebook.
The edited screenshot, featuring the fake quote of Banerjee is being shared ahead of the by-elections in West Bengal that will take place in three Assembly constituencies Kaliaganj, Karimpur and Karagpur Sadar. The polls are scheduled for November 25, 2019.
Banerjee recently took a jibe at Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) for planning to enter the Bengal politics arena. The chief minister said that Owaisi's entry will only "serve to help the BJP by dividing minority votes."
BOOM ran a relevant keyword search and found the original article that was uploaded to Zee 24's news portal on November 18.
The original headline of the article read, "They take money from the BJP, Mamata has warned against Owaisi’s AIMIM.’’ Read the article here.
BOOM did a comparison of the screenshots of the morphed news article and the original article. While the dateline and image of both the articles are same, the headline has been tampered with.
At the November 18 event in Cooch Behar, Banerjee targeted AIMIM. Though she did not name the party, she asked people to refrain from listening to "minority extremists" who have their base in Hyderabad.
Owaisi is a Lok Sabha MP from the city.
In reply to Banerjee's remark Asaduddin Owaisi retorted that Muslims in Bengal have one of the worst human development indicators among any minority.