During the ongoing political crisis taking place in Maharashtra between the Shiv Sena and the Maha Vikas Agadi (MVA), a video of Amit Shah has gone viral across social media. The crisis in the MVA government has triggered a rapid spread of misinformation on social media and media outlets.
The Logical Indian Fact Check Team investigated a claim made by several media outlets alleging that Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray removed his ministerial position from his Twitter bio. We found that the claim was false as Thackerey never had his Cabinet ministerial position mentioned in his bio.
The viral video features Amit Shah, the Minister of Home Affairs, delivering a speech. The text on the top of the video reads, "Uddhav, I'm not afraid of anyone. I will ensure the fall of the Thackeray government." The bottom text reads, "Amit Shah's rebuttal to the Shivsena"
In the video, Amit Shah can be heard saying, "I'm not afraid of anyone, I will say this in front of everyone. Uddhav Ji, you used to seek votes using Modi Ji's name, you had political rallies with me and Modi. Everywhere we said make government with the NDA as Devendra Fadnavis becomes the Chief Minister. Why didn't you say this then? My friends, Uddhav Thackeray in his lust for power, forgot all the lessons by Balasaheb Thackeray… In Maharashtra, a government resembling a three-wheel auto-rickshaw has been formed. In this auto-rickshaw, however, these three wheels run in separate directions". Amit Shah continues to talk about what he deems as the lack of coordination within the three parties that comprise the Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra.
"Today, I have come to talk to the people of Maharashtra. The electoral decision that was taken by all of you has been disregarded. It has instead led to an unholy union motivated by the lust for power in the form of the government here."
The viral video is being shared in the context of the recent political crisis taking place in Maharashtra. The captions and text accompanying the viral video allege that Amit Shah has responded to Shiv Sena and has stated that he will ensure the downfall of the Thackeray government.
A Facebook news portal page shared this video and wrote, "Amit Shah का Shivsena पर पलटवार, क्या Shah Thackeray सरकार गिरा देंगे?#Eknath Shinde#Uddhav Thackeray#Amit Shah#Devendra Fadanvis."
[English Traslation: Amit Shah hits back at Shivsena, will Shah Thackeray bring down the government? #Eknath Shinde#Uddhav Thackeray#Amit Shah#Devendra Fadanvis.] This post got 1.6 million views and 67k likes.
The caption of the viral video reads, "Amit Shah's counter-attack on Shivsena, will Shah overthrow the Thackeray government? #Eknath Shinde #Uddhav Thackeray #Amit Shah #Devendra Fadanvis"
It is being widely shared on Facebook with a similar claim.
The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. The viral video is from 2021.
In his speech, Amit Shah can be heard referring to the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra, which is a state-level political coalition that was formed after the 2019 Maharashtra Legislative Assembly election comprising the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Indian National Congress. Recently, the Maha Vikas Aghadi has landed into a political crisis following the move by Eknath Shinde and other MLAs to support a BJP-ruled state.
We used InVid's Keyframe Analysis tool to isolate the keyframes of the viral video. After isolating the keyframes, we conducted a reverse image search on one of the keyframes using the Yandex search engine. This led us to this result on the search engine, showing a screenshot of the speech in question. The result on Yandex is linked to a tweet by the news agency ANI published on February 7, 2021. The tweet mentions that Amit Shah gave the speech in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra. Taking this into account, we conducted a keyword search with relevant keywords such as 'Amit Shah speech Sindhudurg, Maharashtra'
We came across a video uploaded on the official YouTube channel of the BJP. The video was uploaded on February 8, 2021, with the title 'HM Shri Amit Shah inaugurates SSPM Lifetime Medical College in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra.'
Amit Shah began his speech by remembering the Maratha king Shivaji Maharaj. He praised BJP leader Narayan Rane and the work done by the Central government during the period of surging Covid-19 infections in 2021. He went on to attack the Shiv Sena government, saying that Shiv Sena had disregarded the mandate by the people of Maharashtra. This mandate had brought the BJP-Shiv Sena government to power under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis.
He mentioned that in Bihar, despite BJP getting more seats than JDU, the BJP had made Nitish Kumar the Chief Minister. Shah alleged that contrary to the BJP, Uddhav Thackeray indulged in white lies and made deals in closed rooms.
"I have never done closed room politics as I am a public person. I am not afraid of anyone and speak freely in the midst of everyone about all that happens." Amit Shah can be heard saying. Towards the end of his speech, Shah can be heard saying, "We will not follow the path set by Shiv Sena. If we had followed that path when Devendra Fadnavis was the Chief Minister, then your party (Shiv Sena) would not have even existed."
From the 19.20 mark in the video, Amit Shah can be heard making the "three-wheel auto-rickshaw remark"
The rest of the remarks he made in the viral video can be heard at intervals after 19.20 in the uploaded video. At 22.10, the remark by Amit Shah stating that Uddhav Thackeray used to seek votes using PM Modi's name, can be heard.
The same speech was uploaded on the official YouTube channel of Amit Shah on February 7, 2021. We went through the entire speech and found no remarks by Amit Shah regarding the downfall of the Shiv Sena or Uddhav Thackeray government.
We also came across this summary of the speech on the website BJP.org. However, there were no mentions of the downfall of the Shiv Sena government in this summary either.
Union Home Minister Shah had criticised the Maha Vikas Aghadi in other media reports claiming that the coalition was a "den of corruption and incompetence."
Shah had reiterated the three-wheeler auto-rickshaw remark about the Shiv Sena and the Maha Vikas Aghadi in another speech which can be seen in this report by India Today published on December 20, 2021.
We conducted another keyword search to ascertain whether Amit Shah had many recent remarks regarding the downfall of the Shiv Sena government or Uddhav Thackeray. As per this Indian Express report published on June 21, 2022, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda held a meeting on 21 June to discuss the situation in Maharashtra. However, we could find no reliable reports of Amit Shah making any public comments on the ongoing situation in Maharashtra.
In our investigation, we found out that the viral video containing footage from a speech by Amit Shah actually dates back to February 2021. The speech was given on the occasion of Amit Shah inaugurating the SSPM Lifetime Medical College in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra.
In the video, Shah does mention the coalition between the NCP, INC and the Shiv Sena, terming it as an "unholy union." He does make statements criticising the Shiv Sena government and Uddhav Thackeray, alleging that Thackeray indulges in white lies and made deals in closed rooms. He said that Shiv Sena had disregarded the mandate by the people of Maharashtra.
Despite the strong criticisms and accusations lobbied by Shah against Thackeray and Shiv Sena, there were no mentions of him bringing down the Shiv Sena government or the Maha Vikas Aghadi. The viral video is a clipped version of the full video of Shah's speech at Sindhudurg. Thus, it is apparent that a year-old video has been circulated in the misleading context of the recent political crisis in Maharashtra.
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