An image of a billboard showing BJP MP Ravi Kishan has gone viral across social media. The billboard shows an advertisement about the worrisome state of electricity outages in Uttar Pradesh. The image has gone viral in the context of the problems in power outages across Uttar Pradesh which have been caused due to coal shortage and closure of power generation units.
The viral image shows BJP MP Ravi Kishan featured on a billboard, in an advertisement for the streaming platform Hotstar. Ravi Kishan can be seen holding a portable light and a mobile device displaying the Hotstar logo. The text on the upper left-hand corner of the image reads, "Want to watch Cricket, but there are repeated power cuts?" and "Then install Hotstar to your device."
Samajwadi Party spokesperson IP Singh shared this image and wrote a caption in Hindi which reads, "यूपी में आजकल इस होर्डिंग की बड़ी चर्चा है। रवि किशन बता रहा है कि यूपी में बिजली तो बहुत जाती है। ये गोरखपुर का सांसद है जहाँ से मुख्यमंत्री आते हैं। अच्छे दिन आ गए हैं."
[English Translation: Nowadays this hoarding is the centre of discussion in Uttar Pradesh. Ravi Kishan is stating that there are a lot of electricity cuts in UP. He is the MP of Gorakhpur from where the Chief Minister hails. Good days have arrived.]
AICC Secretary & Uttarpradesh In-Charge Satyanaryan Patel shared the viral claim on Facebook. The caption of the post reads, "आपदा में अवसर" तलाशते भाजपा सांसद."
[English Translation: BJP MP looking for an opportunity in a disaster.]
The Logical Indian fact check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. The viral image is almost 4 years old and presented out of context.
We conducted a keyword search using the words mentioned in the viral image. These included relevant keywords such as, "क्रिकेट देखना है पर बिजली कटे बार-बार" ("Want to watch Cricket, but there are repeated power cuts?").
We came across this post on Facebook uploaded on May 16, 2019, by the Facebook page, We Support Akhilesh Yadav. The post carries the text proclaiming that Kishan disclosed the reality of the electricity outages in Gorakhpur.
It is to be noted that before entering politics, Ravi Kishan was an actor and film producer in the Bhojpuri and Hindi film industries. In 2014, he contested from the Jaunpur Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh on a Congress ticket in 2014 but was defeated, as per this Times Now News report. Kishan contesting as a BJP candidate won the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat by over two lakh votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. To clarify, the election results declaring Ravi Kishan as the MP from Gorakhpur in 2019, were announced on May 23, 2019, as per this report by Business Today. The Facebook post we found during our investigation was of 16 May 2019, days before Ravi Kishan won the election.
We also came across a post by Facebook user 'I love my indore' uploaded on May 13, 2019. The caption read, "Want to watch Cricket, but there are repeated power cuts?" This is the government of Madhya Pradesh. This advertisement is located in Ramchandra Nagar, Indore."
As can be seen from the bottom of the poster, the text reads: "Nagar Palika Nigam Indore" or "Indore Municipal Corporation" There is also a contact number (92850 11005) visible in the bottom left corner of the image. A keyword search for this number led us to this The Hindu report published in April 2022. As per the report, a Indore based company was featuring its employees on a billboard as a reward and recognition. We spotted the same contact number on the bottom of several such hoardings.
This gave further indication that the billboard in question was from Indore and not Gorakhpur.
In the post shared by Satyanaryan Patel, the text stating Bhopal Samachar can be seen at the bottom. Following this, we conducted another keyword search and came across this report by Bhopal Samachar published on May 14, 2019. The report carries the headline, "In Indore, even companies have started using power cuts as a business tactic".
The report reiterated the statements given in the billboard stating that companies such as Hotstar have started marketing their business by taking advantage of the frequent power cuts that take place across Indore. The report states that the hoarding is located near Holkar College, Indore.
The Logical Indian also contacted Gorakhpur MP Ravi Kishan, and shared the image of the ad with him. He told us that it was from an "old advertisement, shot in 2016". He added that this image was old too, and was taken in "Indore, or somewhere" earlier. He also mentioned that he thinks that the Opposition is spreading this old ad now as fake news.
Our investigation shows that the billboard was not put up in the present context of power cuts in Uttar Pradesh. Images of the billboard have been circulating since 2019, before May 23, 2019 to be exact. Ravi Kishan became MP from Gorakhpur on May 23, 2019. The billboard is also not from Gorakhpur but Indore, Madhya Pradesh as per visual evidence and reports. The billboard was part of an ad campaign by Hotstar which included a reference to the power cuts in Indore. Ravi Kishan himself refuted the claim. Hence, the viral claim is false.
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