Twitter has long been called Arvind Kejriwal’s second home/office as evident by how active he is on the micro-blogging site. And the Republic Day was no exception. After tweeting profusely against the Modi government, Kejriwal proceeded to attend the R-Day parade, and then he came back on Twitter to re-tweet this:
Going by the face value of the above picture, the tweet appears to be from Markandey Katju, the ex-CJI of India wherein he is sharing a supposed IB report about AAP sweeping the Punjab assembly elections by bagging more than 100 out of 117 seats.
A former Chief Justice sharing an “intelligence report” surely makes it believable, except that the devil lies in the details.
The first detail is that the Twitter account @katjuPCI is a ‘parody’ account; the real Markandey Katju goes by the @mkatju handle. As it happens on Twitter, most parodies indulge in their own propaganda rather than parodying the person they are supposed to imitate. This particular account is no different and indulges in pro-AAP propaganda.
Now coming to the supposed IB report, there have been earlier instances where the mainstream media has reported IB carrying out such pre-poll surveys. Most of these reports are “source based” and such reports are never officially released. As we had earlier argued, source based journalism should be taken with a pinch of salt.
And we are not saying it just because this supposed IB report predicts an AAP victory – which may as well happen when results come out in March – but because earlier such reports have proved to be wrong. For example, a supposed IB report in January 2015 gave AAP just 14 out of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly elections, while the party went on to win 67 seats.
Furthermore, there is no mention of any such IB report – citing “sources”, of course – in any major dailies or publications. It seems to be a product of WhatsApp News Network, which got shared on Twitter by various pro-AAP handles, and eventually by Arvind Kejriwal himself:
Got IB report by whatsapp message, @AamAadmiParty is winning Punjab ??
— Nadim Ram Ali (@NadimRamAli_) January 26, 2017
The picture further says “Confidential Report – Only for JEO use” that sounds a bit random and made up to appear like some secret IB lingo.
Another reason why this IB report could be fake is that if it indeed is real/leaked, Kejriwal need not have had to seek the services of a ‘parody’ Twitter account to spread the word as there are many journalists in the mainstream media who would gladly do the same to help him and the party.
So in all probabilities, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo shared an unverified WhatsApp rumour from his verified and official Twitter account. This is not surprising given that Arvind Kejriwal had shared various misleading information and blatant lies through his Twitter account last year.
And this trend will continue because the so-called intelligentsia of the country never feels the need to question Kejriwal and his ways, and neither does the media of this country hold the ‘Desi Donald Trump‘ accountable for spreading ‘fake news’.