Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi showed national constitution at rally, not Chinese text

The leader of India's main opposition party Rahul Gandhi brandished a copy of the Indian constitution at an election rally -- not the Chinese constitution, as members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) falsely suggested. They shared a picture taken at a rally during India's national elections but a clearer photo from the event shows Gandhi was holding up an edition of "The Constitution of India" by publishers EBC.

Himanta Biswa Sarma, a BJP politician who is chief minister of India's northeastern Assam state, posted the photo on X, formerly Twitter, on May 17, 2024 (archived link). 

"The original copy of the Constitution of India has a blue cover. The original Chinese constitution has a red cover," he wrote.

"Does Rahul carry a Chinese Constitution? We will need to verify."

Included in the post is an image appearing to show Gandhi giving a speech while holding up a book with a red cover.

The post also includes photos of the red cover of the Chinese constitution, and the original copy of the Indian constitution -- which is blue and gold and kept in a special helium-filled case in the library of India's parliament (archived link).


Various BJP members shared the claim and images elsewhere on X here and here, in the final weeks of India's six-week nationwide elections.

Gandhi has regularly brandished the Indian constitution at election rallies, warning that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP wants to drastically change the text to support its Hindu nationalist politics.

Home Minister Amit Shah, however, told Indian broadcaster NDTV the BJP government did not plan to change the constitution (archived link).

Indian constitution

A reverse image search of the photo of Gandhi found it in an Instagram post from Revanth Reddy, chief minister of southern Telangana state, that was shared on May 5 (archived link).

The post includes various pictures of an election rally that Gandhi attended in the state.

Below is a screenshot comparison between the photo as shown in the false post (left) and in Reddy's Instagram post (right):

Screenshot comparison between the photo as shown in the false post (left) and in Reddy''s Instagram post (right)

Reddy wrote in Telugu: "The constitution has given us self-respect and rights to the people of the country. We will protect the constitution at all costs. ~ Rahul Gandhi."

One of the other pictures in the Instagram post shows a front-on view of Gandhi holding a red book with the title "The Constitution of India".

The letters 'EBC' can also be seen on the bottom-right corner of the book's cover.

Below is a screenshot of Reddy's Instagram post, with the book magnified by AFP:

Screenshot of Reddy''s Instagram post, with the book held by Gandhi magnified by AFP

A keyword search on Google found this edition of the constitution was published by legal publishing house EBC (archived link). 

A spokesman for the company confirmed Gandhi was holding a pocket edition of the Indian constitution compiled by senior lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan. 

The title is widely available online (archived link).

Local media reported that Gandhi had displayed a pocket-sized copy of the Indian constitution at the rally in Telangana (archived link).

Gandhi also posted a video of himself on YouTube holding the book and urging voters to "save" the constitution (archived link). 


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