Voting has begun for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election. In the middle of this, social media users have been sharing a photo of AIMIM head Asaduddin Owaisi with Union Minister Smriti Irani and linking it to the polls. Telangana Coordinator of With Congress (online arm of Congress volunteers) shared the image and wrote, “Owaisi met Smriti Irani. Owaisi asks people to vote for BJP in Lok Sabha elections,” with the hashtag #GHMCElections2020. Alt News has found @SpiritOfCongres spreading false information in the past.
Twitter user @WuntakalL also shared this image and wrote, “What is this?”. Her post was shared by more than 500 people and received more than 2,400 likes. (Archive link)
Another Twitter user wrote, “Owaisi: Madam I have fielded candidates in 50 seats only as you suggested. Smriti Irani: Well done, I will help you win those 50 seats and you help us win the remaining 100.” The ongoing polls will determine the fate of 150 seats of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. (Archive link)
Several other users have made the same claim. Alt News also received a request to fact-check the photo on our Whatsapp number (+917600011160).
When we performed a keyword search on Facebook, we came across a post by user Saujanya Singh in which Irani and Owaisi are seen together. It was uploaded on August 25, 2016. This photo has been taken from a different angle than the viral image, but comparing the two side by side confirms that they were taken on the same occasion.
Owaisi bhakt kahenge ki koi meeting karne gaya tha Smriti Irani k saath. Par baat kuch aur hai. Chunav me vote ka batwara.
Next, a keyword search on Google led us to a tweet by Owaisi dated August 10, 2016. In this tweet, he wrote about a meeting he had with Textile Minister Smriti Irani on issues related to the power loom sector in Maharashtra and the rest of the country. He also shared pictures of the documents presented in this meeting.
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) August 10, 2016
He tweeted two other photos from this dialogue. Both confirm that Smriti Irani was present there as she can be seen in the background. Furthermore, the two leaders are seen in the same clothes they are wearing in the viral picture.
Apart from this, when we examined Owaisi’s August 2016 tweets using an advanced search on Twitter, we noticed that he had quote-tweeted another user talking about his alliance with the BJP. “Your old party MPs didn’t attend power looms meeting and UP is on your mind, you’re not realising that weavers in UP are suffering.”
Your old party MPs didn’t attend powerlooms meeting &UP is on your mind not realising that Weavers in UP r suffering https://t.co/SboO5eBfUI
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) August 23, 2016
Hindi news portal Patrika also covered this meeting in an article dated August 27, 2016.
Therefore, social media users have been sharing a four-year-old photo of AIMIM chief Asaddudin Owaisi and Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, falsely linking it to the ongoing GHMC polls.