Fact Check: Not rebel Sena leader Eknath Shinde, this photo shows his mentor being blessed by Bal Thackeray

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A black-and-white photo of Bal Thackeray is going viral on social media with the claim that the Shiv Sena founder was seen blessing Eknath Shinde by applying a tilak to his forehead. India Today’s Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found the claim to be false.

A photo of Bal Thackeray blessing Eknath Shinde by applying tilak to his forehead is going viral on social media (Photo: India Today)

Uddhav Thackeray on June 29 announced his decision to step down as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena chief made the announcement shortly after the Supreme Court ordered the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to take a floor test to prove its majority in the Assembly. Amid the political turmoil in the state following turncoat MLAs assembling under the leadership of Eknath Shinde, a photo has been going viral.

The black-and-white photo features Bal Thackeray applying tilak to a man’s forehead. The two are surrounded by several other men. Those sharing the photo on Twitter and Facebook claimed that it showed the Shiv Sena founder blessing Shinde. It’s noteworthy that Shinde has repeatedly attacked the MVA government and Uddhav Thackeray for supposedly straying away from Bal Thackeray’s ideals.

The India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) found that the person in the photo on who Bal Thackeray is applying tilak is not Eknath Shinde. He is the non-deceased Shiv Sena leader Anand Dighe.

The viral posts have been archived here and here.

AFWA Probe

A reverse search of the photo led us to several news reports that featured it. BBC Marathi published this picture in an April report on the Shiv Sena leader Anand Dighe, who died in 2001. The same photo was also published in the Marathi daily Lokmat in May this year.

We also found a Shiv Sena tweet from August 26, 2021, that paid homage to Dighe on his death anniversary.

The picture was also tweeted ( https://twitter.com/iYashwantJadhav/status/1486616083666665477) by other Shiv Sena leaders.

Who was Anand Dighe?

Dighe was a follower of Bal Thackeray and the mentor of rebel Sena leader Eknath Shinde. The ongoing rebellion has brought Shinde’s mentor, popularly known as “Dharma Veer”, into focus.

Dighe died at the age of 50 following a massive heart attack. A posthumous profile of the leader in Frontline magazine noted that he was the “de facto Bal Thackeray of Thane” because of his hold over the region. Reportedly, Dighe came into the limelight in 1989 following the murder of Sena corporator Shridhar Khopkar, who allegedly cross-voted against the party in the Thane mayoral election. Dighe was directly linked to the murder.

Thus, we concluded that the man in the photo being blessed by Bal Thackeray is not Eknath Shinde. Rather, it’s his mentor and late Sena leader from Thane, Anand Dighe.

ClaimAn old photo shows Bal Thackeray giving his blessings to Eknath Shinde by applying tilak to his forehead.ConclusionThe man to whose forehead Bal Thackery is applying tilak is not Eknath Shinde — it’s his mentor and late Sena leader Anand Dighe.

JHOOTH BOLE KAUVA KAATE

The number of crows determines the intensity of the lie.

  • 1 Crow: Half True
  • 2 Crows: Mostly lies
  • 3 Crows: Absolutely false



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