As the federal and provincial elections come closer, old photos and videos of politicians continue to be circulated online with false or misleading claims. These claims have been widely disseminated through social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Gagan Thapa, general secretary of the Nepali Congress, and Ranju Darshana, an independent candidate, both of whom are vying for seats in the federal parliament from Kathmandu constituencies, are featured in a doctored photo that has gone viral.
Thapa, a candidate for the Kathmandu-4 constituency, and Darshana, a candidate for Kathmandu-5, are pictured standing with two other men.
In the picture, three of them can be seen sporting white t-shirts bearing images of Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center). Thapa is seen wearing a loose shirt with the same image printed over it.
On October 20, Twitter user @Bhimoli posted the photo with a caption in Nepali that said Thapa was campaigning for the Maoists [screenshot]. Facebook user Narayan Khatri posted the image with a caption that said Sher Bahadur Deuba, the president of the Nepal Congress, made them campaign for the Maoists.
Nepal Check fact-checked the claim.
We tried to determine whether Thapa and Darshana attended the same event by using the photo itself as a hint. We found a picture shared by Thapa on September 5, 2017, after conducting a Google search using relevant keywords. The people in the image are the same as those in the viral image. In the original photo, two young men are wearing t-shirts with the logos of an organization. The logo is not on Thapa’s shirt.
A photo on the official Facebook page of Striya Foundation confirmed Darshana and Thapa had both participated in a bicycle rally held by the foundation to mark World Sexual Health Day. Thapa also posted a status about the event on his Facebook page on September 5, 2017.
A five-year-old photo was doctored to falsely claim that Thapa campaigned for the Maoist Centre, a member of the ruling and electoral alliance. Therefore, the claim is misleading.
|Claim||Claimed by||Nepal Check Verdict|
|Photo shows Gagan Thapa wearing a shirt promoting the election campaign of the Maoist party||Facebook and Twitter users||Misleading|
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