Fact Check: Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Makes False Remarks About Amit Shah And JP Nadda In His Lok Sabha Address
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury made false statements about Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President JP Nadda’s last year’s visits to West Bengal during his recent Lok Sabha address.
While addressing a Lok Sabha session on February 8, 2021, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury made a few statements about Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) President JP Nadda's visits to Rabindra Bhavan in Shantiniketan, West Bengal.
Chowdhury claimed that on their visit to West Bengal, last year, Nadda called Shantiniketan as Rabindra Nath Tagore's birthplace and Shah sat on Tagore's chair. The following YouTube video shows Chowdhury making these statements at 21:59 and 21:30, respectively.
He said that the BJP leaders visited West Bengal without any prior knowledge about Tagore. He said, "BJP's Amit Shah and JP Nadda headed to West Bengal as the elections were approaching. They are visiting Shantiniketan and claiming that this is Rabindranath Tagore's birthplace. Firstly, read whether he was born there or not. People are laughing about it and we feel bad. Amit Shah sat on Tagore's chair. This is an insult. I request you, please read about a place's history and culture."
Amit Shah sat on Tagore's chair on his visit to Rabindra Bhavan last year and JP Nadda referred to Shantiniketan as Tagore's birthplace.
There are two claims made by Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in his Lok Sabha speech.
Claim 1: Amit Shah sat on Rabindranath Tagore's chair at Rabindra Bhavan in West Bengal.
Similar claims also made rounds on social media in December 2020. A post on Facebook said, "Amit Shah sat on a Chair in Shantiniketan where Noone other than Rabindranath Tagore sat."
The post has been archived here.
This claim stands false as Shah didn't sit on Tagore's chair but on a couch for signing in the visitor's register.
The Union Home Minister visited the Viswa Bharti University at Shantiniketan, Birbhum on his two-day trip in December 2020. His official Twitter account also shared a few photos of the same.
Paid tributes to one of India's greatest thinkers, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, at Rabindra Bhawan in Shantiniketan. Gurudev's contribution to India's freedom movement will forever be remembered and his thoughts will continue to inspire our generations to come. pic.twitter.com/OG70LwfRwY— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) December 20, 2020
By doing a keyword search for Rabindranath Tagore's real chair, a picture of the sofa-chair of Tagore kept at the museum was found. The sofa-chair does not resemble the couch Shah is seen seated on in the image. Below is the comparison between the two.
The Telegraph had uploaded a picture of another sofa-chair that belonged to Tagore kept at the museum which does not resemble the divan where Shah was seated.
Poulomi Saha, India Today journalist took to Twitter to post a letter written by Visva Bharati VC to Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. The response mentions, "You have unfortunately been misinformed, as this is patently untrue. In the past, during their official visits to Uttarayan, a number of dignitaries, including the former Chancellors, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Madam Pratibha Patil, Sri Pranab Mukherjee, and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Madam Sheikh Hasina, among others, have sat in that makeshift seat, which is actually just the edge of a window on which cushions are placed. Thus, not only is it not a chair, but it has never been Gurudev's seat at all."
The tweet also included old pictures of Madam Sheikh Hasina and Rajiv Gandhi seated on the same place as Amit Shah.
V-C of #Bengal's Visvabharati University writes to @adhirrcinc and tells him that he misspoke in Lok Sabha suggesting that @AmitShah sat on Rabindranath's seat during his visit to the University in December.— Poulomi Saha (@PoulomiMSaha) February 9, 2021
Fact is others have also sat on what is just the edge of a window. pic.twitter.com/Qd72rzd4kV
The tweet has been archived here.
Amit Shah dismissed the allegations made by Chowdhury in Lok Sabha and said, "I did not sit in Rabindranath Tagore's chair. I want to clarify in the Lok Sabha that I did not intend to hurt any sentiments. I have a letter from Visva Bharati's Vice-Chancellor where I have sought clarification from him and tell me after analysing the photos and videos whether I sat there or not. He has very clearly stated that nothing of this sort has happened. The reference to the place I sat is a window and anyone can sit there."
Thus, Shah did not sit on Tagore's chair but on a couch near a window to sign the visitor's log.
Claim 2: JP Nadda referred to Shantiniketan as Tagore's birthplace.
Coming to Chowdhury's second allegation that Shah and Nadda referred to Shantiniketan as the birthplace of Tagore, we went back to JP Nadda's speech in West Bengal delivered on 9 December 2020 where he said, "West Bengal is known for the exchange of ideas. Visva Bharati is here, Rabindranath Tagore was born here and we all know how Tagore had enlightened this society."
During Nadda's speech in West Bengal on December 9, 2020, he says, "West Bengal is known for the exchange of ideas. Visva Bharati is here, Rabindranath Tagore was born here, we know how Tagore enlightened this society.
Thus, this points out that Nadda did not specifically say that Rabindranath Tagore was born in Shantiniketan. The birthplace of Tagore is Jorasanko, Kolkata.
Therefore, both the claims made by Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in the Lok Sabha session on February 8, 2021, were false.
Alt News has earlier fact-checked the claim.
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