Rahul Gandhi: A Multi-Fact Meter
Note: This is a departure from IndiaFacts’ usual format of a Fact Meter, which typically involves a single assertion or claim followed by an examination of the facts and then followed by the Fact Meter verdict.
This is known as a MultiFact Meter wherein we examine several claims and assertions within in a single Fact Meter. This is necessitated when a series of mostly false, erroneous, and even ignorant claims and assertions are made by prominent people in the public space. IndiaFacts inaugurates its MultiFact Meter with Rahul Gandhi.
On 27 January 2014, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi gave an interview lasting more than an hour with Times Now editor Arnab Goswami. During the course of the interview, Rahul Gandhi made several claims about important issues affecting the country.
Our Fact Meter has put only the top 10 of his claims to test below.
Claim 1: India is a country with billions of young people
Facts: The World Bank and United States Census Bureau estimate of India’s population as of 2012 is 1.237 billion.
Claim 2: BJP concentrates power with one person. I (Rahul Gandhi) am against that.
Facts: The BJP is a cadre-based party which has a Constitution and has internal democracy with regards to decision making and election of leaders within the party. With the exception of Nitin Gadkari, presidents of the BJP have had one-year terms. On the other hand, the Congress party of which Rahul Gandhi is the vice president, has historically vested all powers–including that of the veto–with the head of the Nehru-Gandhi family. His mother, Sonia Gandhi holds the record of being the President of the Congress party for 10 terms consecutively. Equally, her husband the late Rajiv Gandhi was the party president from when he became Prime Minister till his assassination in 1991. Rajiv Gandhi’s mother, Indira Gandhi was the Congress party president in 1959 and then between 1978–1984 consecutively.
Claim 3: The Congress empowered people in the freedom movement.
Facts: The Congress party that empowered the Indian people during the freedom movement was named the Indian National Congress. This party was first split as Congress (O) and Congress (I) owing to differences between 1978–1984grandmother, Indira Gandhi on one side and leaders like Morarji Desi and K.Kamaraj on the other. On 12 November 1969, Indira Gandhi was expelled by these senior Congress leaders for violating party discipline. She then went on to set up the Congress (R). And so, the claim that the Congress party of Rahul Gandhi’s time is the party that empowered people in the freedom movement is false.
Claim 4: Some Congressmen were probably involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Facts: The anti-Sikh riots of 1984 were not riots. It was a calculated massacre of about 3000 Sikhs in the city of Delhi (and elsewhere) in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s murder by her two Sikh bodyguards. It was a genocide targeted at the Sikh community. Numerous eyewitness accounts and investigations have revealed that this genocide was carried out at the behest of powerful Congress leaders like Jagdish Tytler, HKL Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar, Lalit Maken, and others. Some of these leaders were also seen directing the murdering mobs on the grounds. Indeed, in the aftermath of the riots, Rahul Gandhi’s own father Rajiv Gandhi justified the Sikh genocide with his infamous statement that “the earth shakes when a great tree falls.” Thus, Rahul Gandhi’s claim that “some Congressmen were probably involved” is patently false.
Claim 5: Congress government tried to stop the 1984 riots.
Facts: In light of the facts mentioned under Claim #4, it is clear that far from stopping the massacre of Sikhs, the Congress Government used the State machinery to abet the riots. The Delhi High Court in a 2009 verdict on the Sikh genocide observed that “Though we boast of being the world’s largest democracy and the Delhi being its national capital, the sheer mention of the incidents of 1984 anti-Sikh riots in general and the role played by Delhi Police and state machinery in particular makes our heads hang in shame in the eyes of the world polity.”
Claim 6: The Gujarat govt was aiding and abetting the riots in 2002. They (media) saw the administration actively attacking the minorities.
Facts: The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), apart from every other agency appointed to probe the Gujarat Riots of 2002 has absolved the Gujarat Government of complicity in the riots. In fact, the Gujarat riots cases have seen both the convictions in and the conclusion of communal riots cases when compared to riots cases since Independence. And so Rahul Gandhi’s claim to the contrary–in the face of the Supreme Court’s pronouncement –is both false and sets a bad precedent of contravening the highest court of the land.
Claim 7: [In the] Congress party wherever we’ve had issues of corruption we have taken action.
Facts: Given the multitude of scams that the Congress-led UPA Government has perpetrated in the last 10 years, it is difficult to maintain brevity in fact-checking this claim. It is sufficient to say that the various perpetrators of these scams continue to remain scot-free. Further, in the Congress-ruled state of Maharashtra, the Adarsh Housing Scam, witnessed the indictment of four former Maharashtra Chief Ministers–Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar–by a judicial commission. Of these, the Congress party promoted Sushil Kumar Shinde to the post of the Union Home Minister while the rest have mostly remained untouched by the law. Thus, Rahul Gandhi’s claim that the Congress has taken action over corruption falls flat on its face.
Claim 8: Arvind Kejriwal is a leader of an opposition party.
Facts: Arvind Kejriwal is the incumbent Chief Minister of the state of Delhi.
Claim 9: Our opposition states do not have RTI commissioners.
Facts: A quick persual of the website of the RTI reveals a list of the following non-Congress ruled states that have implemented the RTI:
- Himachal Pradesh (ruled by BJP till 2012)
- Tamil Nadu
- Karnataka (ruled by the BJP till 2013)
- Madhya Pradesh
Claim 10: We built three times the roads the NDA built.
Facts: From the data available on the NHAI and Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, the following graphic shows the numbers. (Click the graphic to view the full size)
Thus, whereas the NDA built 15984 Kms during five years, the UPA built 13674 Kms in nine years and only 4979 Kms in five years (between 2004-2009, the UPA’s first term), which belies Rahul Gandhi’s claim that the Congress built “three times the roads the NDA built.”
At the end of such a detailed fact-checking, nothing further needs to be said. It is clear that Rahul Gandhi is an Incorrigible Liar.