BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra’s attempt to get back at NDTV, for asking him to leave mid-show following his allegation that NDTV has an agenda, fell flat on his face, all thanks to a fake news article. On Sunday morning, Patra re-tweeted a story by The Times of Islamabad website which criticised PM Modi’s Make in India programme based on data they attributed to NDTV. Along with the re-tweet, Patra wrote, “Hmmm …agenda”.
NDTV immediately responded to Patra’s tweet, saying that the story is fake and does not refer anywhere to NDTV. The channel further sought a clarification from the BJP spokesperson. In its reply NDTV tweeted, “Fake story, also does not refer anywhere to NDTV. We are wrongly named in headline and URL. Please issue a clarification.”
The article referred to by ‘Times of Islamabad’, a Pakistani web portal, was a column written by former Union minister P Chidamabram for The Indian Express on June 11, 2017. After NDTV’s reply, the Pakistani website removed the channel’s name from its article and updated the content.
It is not the first time a BJP leader has fallen for a fake story. Just two months ago, BJP minister Babul Supriyo posted a picture on Twitter, claiming it was the new bus stand in Rajkot. In reality, it was just the digital impression, which is created before any building/residential apartment/shopping mall. Supriyo, later posted a message admitting his mistake, saying he was fooled by a WhatsApp message.
Similarly, after BJP had come to power in 2014, party MP Meenakshi Lekhi had posted a message on Twitter celebrating news that India’s National Anthem was judged as the best anthem in the world by UNESCO. “Congratulations to all of us! Our National Anthem has been adjudged to be the best anthem in the world by UNESCO!”, Lekhi wrote on Twitter in a post dated June 21, 2014. The MP later deleted her tweet.