Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

One month of hyperbole on the campaign trail

Hefty claims are made by all political parties during campaigning. Mint analyzes if the claims made in the last month are true, exaggerated or simply false

NEW DELHI : Election season is a time for a big claims. Governments boast of their achievements while the opposition questions them. In the heat of campaigning, many such claims can go uncontested.

To cut through the noise and hype, Mint analyses the verifiable claims of government ministers and opposition leaders based on a database of their tweets compiled by Mint’s partner,

The analysis considers all claims made between 10 March and 10 April, the first month of campaigning since the model code of conduct took effect.

Unsurprisingly, we find that leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have focused on the welfare achievements of their government. Across the board, BJP leaders highlight the work done in bringing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections, electricity and better constructed households to rural areas. They also highlight the progress made on economic growth and tax reforms.

We find that some of these claims are true but others are either exaggerated or lack context. The government has improved rural infrastructure but this has not necessarily led to improvement in important outcomes. For instance, while there are more LPG connections than before, external survey data reveals that actual LPG usage remains low. Similarly, more households are now on the grid but many still do not get quality access to electricity.

The tweets considered include those of the most followed leaders across four categories in the political firmament: government benches, opposition benches, chief ministers and party chiefs.

This is the same cohort tracked in Mint’s weekly Twitter dashboard and includes the Prime Minister and important BJP leaders such as Arun Jaitley, key opposition leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, as well as prominent chief ministers (CMs) such as Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal. The opposition has focused its attacks on the economy, criticizing the government’s record on job-creation and poverty alleviation. The limited data on both these fronts makes it trickier to question their claims. CMs tend to focus more on local issues—Kejriwal has focused on claims about Delhi’s statehood and Banerjee on West Bengal’s progress under her stewardship. To ensure consistency, only quantitative claims have been considered here.We use a range of data sources—both government and non-government—to deliver our verdicts on the claims: True, where data backs the claim; Half-true, where the claim is based on some truth but exaggerated; and False, where there is data to contradict a claim. The claims and our verdicts are presented in the accompanying graphic.

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