Fact Check: Did Rahul Gandhi Hold Up Chinese Constitution At His Rallies?

The claim was first posted by BJP leader and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on May 17.

Fact Check: Did Rahul Gandhi Hold Up Chinese Constitution At His Rallies?

A photo of Rahul Gandhi, an Indian politician and leader of the Congress party, holding a book with a red cover is going viral on social media. The accompanying claim suggests that Gandhi is holding a copy of the 'original Chinese constitution,' which is said to have a 'red cover,' in contrast to the 'original Indian constitution,' which supposedly has a 'blue cover.'

The claim was first posted (archived here) by BJP leader and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on May 17. Taking to X, he stated, 'The original copy of the Constitution of India has a blue cover. The original Chinese constitution has a red cover. Is Rahul carrying a Chinese Constitution? We need to verify.' 

Sarma seemed to further justify his statement when he posted (archived here) again on X on May 18, saying, "Rahul is displaying a red Chinese constitution to the people attending his meetings. Our constitution, which is blue, includes a chapter called the Directive Principles of State Policy. This chapter makes it a sacred duty to enact a Uniform Civil Code in our country. Rahul is now opposing this. That's why I am sure that the constitution in his hand must be a Chinese one."

Sarma's first post included two distinct images: one of the Chinese constitution with a red cover and another of the Indian constitution with a blue cover. Other social media users subsequently picked up and reshared this post. Archived versions of such posts can be viewed here, here, here, and here.

Screenshot of the viral social media posts. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

What are the facts?

The exact image of Gandhi with the red-covered book was found on the Press Trust of India (PTI) website (archive link) with the caption, "Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses during a public meeting for Lok Sabha polls, in Gadwal, Telangana, Sunday, May 5, 2024. (PTI Photo)."

Rahul Gandhi's image on the PTI Photos website. (Source: PTI Photos/Modified by Logically Facts)

Drawing from this, we were able to access a video from the same event in Gadwal, where Gandhi delivered his speech. He posted a livestream on YouTube (archived here) titled "Lok Sabha 2024 Campaign | Public Meeting | Gadwal, Telangana," on May 5, 2024. At the 29:17 mark, the cover of the book he was holding, clearly marked with the words "The Constitution of India," is visible.

While holding the book, Gandhi stated in Hindi, "...if the poor, OBCs, Dalits, and tribes in the country have gained anything, it is because of this book, our constitution. If you have employment, daily wages, public sectors, and reservations, it's all because of this book. Before its existence, India had no rights for you all. This book protects the rights of all sections of people: the OBC, minorities, tribes, and general castes. And the BJP wants to tear this book. This book is the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, and Jawaharlal Nehru..." The reference here clearly refers to the Constitution of India.

The Telangana Youth Congress also posted (archived version) a similar photo of Gandhi holding the red-covered copy of the Indian constitution on April 29, 2024.

Constitution of India with a red cover

In our search for a red-covered Indian constitution book, we found a specific edition by Gopal Sankaranarayanan titled 'Constitution of India (Coat Pocket Edition),' published by Eastern Book Company (EBC). This book is available on the EBC Webstore, an online law bookstore, and the Amazon online shopping platform. We observed that this EBC edition matches the copy Gandhi was holding in the viral image.

Other leaders with the red cover copy

This isn't the first time a politician has been seen holding this copy. Previously, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and former President of India Ram Nath Kovind were seen with a copy of the book.

On October 23, 2023, the online legal research database SCC Online (archive link) (published by EBC) posted an image of Shah receiving a copy and wrote, "EBC Directors, Mr. Sumain Malik, and Mr. Sumeet Malik, present a copy of the Coat Pocket Constitution to Mr. Amit Shah, Minister of Home Affairs of India."

Similarly, The Statesman published a report on July 26, 2017, featuring a photo of Modi presenting a similar copy of the constitution to the then-president Ram Nath Kovind.

On July 15, 2021, Draupadi Murmu (archive link), President of India, posted an image showing Kovind receiving a copy from Shri Mangubhai Chhaganbhai Patel, Governor of Madhya Pradesh.

Blue cover version of Indian constitution

Times of India report from January 30, 2024, titled "How they made sure India's Constitution lasts for ages," included the image now used in viral posts to depict the 'original blue-covered Constitution.' According to the report, the original handwritten copies of the Constitution of India are preserved inside the Parliament Library in display cases.

Constitution controversy

Gandhi initially asked all party candidates to carry a copy of the constitution during nominations and public meetings, and he started doing the same himself. BJP president JP Nadda even accused Gandhi of only carrying a copy of the constitution but not reading it.

On May 17, 2024, Gandhi brought up this issue at a rally with Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav. Here, Gandhi criticized Modi for allegedly attempting to undermine citizens' constitutional values and rights. This was followed by Sarma questioning whether Gandhi was carrying a 'red-covered Chinese constitution.'

The verdict

In the viral image, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is seen holding a coat pocket version of the Constitution of India by Gopal Sankaranarayanan (published by EBC). Therefore, the claim that Gandhi was carrying a copy of the Chinese constitution is false.

(This story was originally published by Logically Facts, and republished by NDTV as part of the Shakti Collective.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)