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How Rajdeep Sardesai and biased media spread lies about BHU VC at Modi’s rally

Author: OpIndia Staff
Publication: Opindia.com
Date: March 6, 2017
URL:   http://www.opindia.com/2017/03/how-rajdeep-sardesai-and-biased-media-spread-lies-about-bhu-vc-at-modis-rally/

Indian media’s role while covering the elections in Uttar Pradesh is already under the scanner. Questions are being raised as to the neutrality of media houses who have benefited from the UP Government’s largess’. Questions are being asked of soft-ball interviews and of biased media reporting. But now media has gone beyond bias, and into lies.

As PM Modi went into overdrive while campaigning in his constituency of Varanasi, lies too went into overdrive. In this “post-truth” world, we saw controversial journalist Rajdeep Sardesai’s moral compass pointing out a gross impropriety:

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Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep - Mar 3
Shocked: BHU VC Mr Tripathi joins @PMOIndia ona political roadshow and at kashi vishwanath temple! Yeh kahan aa Gaye gum!! #elections2017

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Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep - Mar 3
Only in India would chabbel being funded by an NDA MP call itself 'independent' or a VC join an election roadshow and Univ be 'autonomous'!

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As can be seen from the above tweets, Rajdeep Sardesai had spotted BHU Vice Chancellor Mr Tripathi, at a roadshow of PM Modi. Rajdeep used this to raise political questions over the autonomy of BHU. Far left leader Kavita Krishnan quickly picked up where Rajdeep left:

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Kavita Krishnan @kavita_krishnan
BHU VC joined Modi road show, makes women students sign affidavit they won't do politics, cites 'service rules' to ban politics for faculty
11:16 PM - 4 Mar 2017

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Soon, leftist media outlets followed. TheWire tweeted this:

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The Wire @thewire_in
Why was the BHU Vice Chancellor at @NarendraModi’s roadshow in Varanasi? https://thewire.in/114060/bhu-modi-vice-chancellor/ …
12:02 PM - 5 Mar 2017

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If the Left is here, AAP can’t be left behind. AAP mouthpiece JanataKaReporter too reported this news, and was promptly pimped by Leftist AAP leader Atishi Marlena

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Atishi Marlena @AtishMarlena
Absolutely shocking! How can the VC of a central university take part in a political rally?

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Janta Ka Reporter @JantaKaReporter
BHU's VC, Girish chandra Tripathi, a proud 'RSS man' joins modi's election...
2:31 pm - 04 Mar 17

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Associate Editor at Catch News Aditya Menon, who was earlier caught circulating pictures from Syria to stoke tension in Kashmir, wrote an article titled: Why BHU VC’s participation in PM Modi’s Varanasi campaign violates rules. Rest assured then, since so many “responsible” media houses, politicians and journalists had vetted this, the BHU VC had indeed gone to Modi’s rally.

But, with Indian media, one has to be extra-careful. Rahul Kanwal tweeted yesterday that the same BHU vice chancellor GC Tripathi, who was seen at the Modi rally by Rajdeep Sardesai, had revealed that in fact he had not participated in the rally at all!

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Rahul Kanwal @rahulkanwal
VC of BHU Girish Tripathi strongly denies charge that he participated in the @PMOIndia road show. Says will sue. Demands proof or apology.
3:41 PM - 5 Mar 2017

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Today, a report also quoted the VC as saying he had seen the entire event from the comfort of his office! He said:

I was watching the whole proceedings on television from my office that day. Claims about I being present at the rally were malicious attempts to defame me and the university. I am ready for any punishment if these allegations are proven true. One malicious journalist started the whole thing by spreading lies on Twitter.

And less than an hour before the above report was published, Sardesai admitted on twitter that he had goofed up, leading Indian media on a wild-goose chase:

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Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep
The pics of BHU VC at Modi roadshow have turned out to be case of 'mistaken identity'. Apologising to him and withdrawing tweet.
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In the intervening period, TheWire.in and CatchNews also deleted their stories which were based on Rajdeep’s lies. In this “post-truth” world where Twitter and Facebook are being asked to control fake-news, will they stand up to verified liars like Sardesai? Or will Sardesai now claim that his twitter account was hacked, like the time he claimed when he had sent abusive direct messages to social media users?
 
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