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Did Lalu share a photoshopped image of Patna rally? Here’s why we think so

RJD leader Lalu Prasad finds himself at the centre of a Photoshop controversy.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2017 12:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Lalu [Prasad Yadav,Photoshopped image,Gandhi Maidan rally
An aerial view of the 'BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao' rally organised by RJD at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan on Sunday.(Abhishek/HT PHOTO)

Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad landed in a controversy on Sunday when an image he tweeted from his rally at Patna’s historic Gandhi Maidan was called out by the BJP as well as social media for being doctored.

Lalu, whose ‘BJP bhagao, Desh Bachao’ rally was intended as a show of opposition strength and unity and was attended by Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav, had tweeted a photo of the large turnout at Gandhi Maidan.

The caption with the image read, “No “Face” will stand in front of Lalu’s “Base”. Come & Count as much as u can in Gandhi Maidan, Patna #DeshBachao.”

Minutes later, Bihar’s deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi tweeted a photo of a relatively empty Maidan and questioned Lalu’s claim.

HT’s designers closely analysed the image tweeted by Lalu, to ascertain if there are any anomalies or discrepancies to suggest it could have been doctored.

Here is our frame-by-frame analysis, which compares the photos tweeted by Lalu, Sushil Kumar Modi and news agency PTI :

Photojournalists clicked the rally from different angles, but none of their photographs show the huge crowd visible in Lalu’s tweet. This is the first sign that the photograph in Lalu’s tweet may have been morphed to make the crowd appear bigger.

Second, a group of trees in the middle of Gandhi Maidan is missing from the tweeted image. The trees appear to have been removed when the crowd’s image was apparently ‘morphed’ for the tweet.

Third, parts of Lalu’s photo, for example a yellow patch of land, look too similar to each other. This suggests that they are the same cloned area.

Fourth, other images of the rally clearly show white placards dotting the Maidan. But these placards are not visible in the crowd shown in the photo Lalu tweeted.

Fifth, the hard lines at the edges in Lalu’s photos are way too clean, suggesting the use of Photoshop to straighten them out.

Despite all of this, it is worth noting that the image tweeted by Sushil Kumar Modi shows an early scene from the rally. Later photos from the same angle show a much larger crowd.

You can see this from the other images of the rally taken by press photographers at the event. Here are a few images taken by HT’s photographers at the spot:

Which begs the question, why did Lalu Prasad feel the need to inflate the crowds?

First Published: Aug 28, 2017 11:57 IST