In the age of Photoshop and filters, it's tough not to succumb to the temptation of creating a version of reality that most flatters us. Unfortunately, as overenthusiastic fans of PM Modi and the BJP's propaganda machinery have often found out, in addition to being the Photoshop age, this is also the social media age. And all it takes is a whiff of a morphed image to set the watchdogs off on a hunt.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his team are just finding out this bitter truth.
Yesterday, on 27 August, Yadav tweeted a photo of the crowd at his 'BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao' rally in Patna. He, and other political bigwigs in the opposition like West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav undoubtedly managed to pull an impressive crowd at their anti-BJP rally. However, Yadav decided to tweet this image.
Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Prasad's son and Bihar's former deputy chief minister, went so far as to claim that there were 30 lakh people at the rally.
A little over an hour after Yadav tweeted the image, news agency Asia News International (ANI) tweeted a photograph from a similar angle, showing a crowd much smaller than the one in Yadav's photo.
And of course, as is wont, jokesters on Twitter were quick to pick jump on to the bandwagon to poke fun at the RJD chief's attempt to mislead people by allegedly 'touching up' the photographs. Witty barbs and hilariously edited versions of the photo started making the rounds of Twitter as #DeshBachao started trending on the micro-blogging site.
A few weeks ago, the RJD lost power in Bihar when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar sent the nation in a tizzy with his dramatic resignation after he left the Mahagathbandhan and joined the National Democratic Alliance, due to Tejashwi Yadav's alleged corruption. Yadav's 'BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao' rally was an attempt to unite the opposition parties against the increasingly powerful BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Congress' President and Vice-President, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, were conspicuous by their absence, even though Rahul Gandi did send a letter expressing his support for the rally.