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Fact check of Master Stroke’s episode which got Punya Prasun Bajpai sacked from ABP News

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On June 20, Prime Minister Modi spoke to a farmer Chandramani Kaushik from village Kanhari in Kanker district (Chhattisgarh) through video conference. The lady farmer had claimed that her income got doubled after she joined  Krishi Atma Pariyojna. On July 6, ABP News aired a report claiming that the woman in question had been coached by officials from Delhi about what she was required to say to the prime minister and how she must say the bit about the doubling of income. The show, Master Stroke hosted by Punya Prasun Bajpai also showed Chandramani’s interview in which she claimed that her income has not been doubled due to rice farming. Based on this ABP news concluded that the claim of doubling of income is false. However, ABP News clearly missed the point in that episode as, in the interaction video with Modi, Kaushik never said her income had been doubled by sowing rice/paddy. She clearly told the PM that the secret was her shifting to fruit and pulp processing.

Read our detailed report on this to understand how ABP News was wrong in their analysis.

Even Chattisgarh Government reiterated the same thing that Chandramani was talking about Custard apple (Sitaphal) not rice cultivation. After Government’s clarification, ABP News sent the reporter again to the village and interviewed other women from the group of Chandramani. The report was telecast on July 9. Here is the summary of their findings or claims.

Claim 1: ABP news assumed that Chandramani claimed that her daily income was Rs 50-60.

Fact: Chandramani in her interaction with Prime Minister Modi had said that earlier they used to sell 25 kg custard apple in Rs 50-60. ABP News simply assumed that she or her group used to sell only 25 kg custard apple in a day thus making daily income as Rs 50-60.

Watch this video from their show (6:34)

Claim 2: After joining the program, their daily income became Rs 750 which was divided into 12 women. Thus it was just around Rs 58 per day for each woman. Thus the claim of double income is false.

Fact: Chandramani in her interview with ABP News said that with 25 Kg custard apple they make 5 kg pulp and sell it at Rs. 150 per kg thus making Rs 750 per 25 kg. Watch the above video carefully from 7:55 minutes.

Now ABP assumed that group of 12 women make only 5 kg pulp in a day i.e around 0.41 kg per woman.

We don’t have exact information to quote how much pulp they were extracting per day. But data clearly suggests that one woman gets Rs 58 per 0.41kg pulp which can be extracted from approx 2 kg of custard apple. Chandramani also claimed that they have the machine to extract pulp thus we can assume that the group of 12 women can extract more than 5 kg pulp in a day. Earlier, they were getting Rs 50-60 for harvesting 25 kg custard apple and now they get Rs 700 for harvesting and extracting pulps from the same amount of custard apples. But ABP News and Punya Prasun Bajpai assumed that group of 12 women extract only 5 kg of pulp in a day.

The booming business of custard apple in the village was earlier highlighted by Your Story. As per the report, during the harvesting season, farmers are able to harvest 25 to 30 kg from a tree. Read the report here which was published much before all these controversies happened.

By making custard apple ice cream, women of Chhattisgarh’s Kanker are becoming financially independent

Conclusion: ABP News clearly made a lot of assumptions just to prove that the farmer was pressurized by officials to say that her income doubled from the business. As per analysis if a woman can extract even 1 kg of pulp which needs 5 kg of custard apple then their income will be easily doubled.

Note: Aftermath of this episode of “Master Stroke” was not good for ABP news and its host Punya Prasun Bajpai. Many people complained that there were issues in satellite network during 9-10pm (time of the show), Bajpai has even claimed that he was instructed not use the name and picture of Prime Minister Modi on his show. Ultimately, he had to resign from the channel. There is a lot of conspiracy theory floating on the internet which we will be debunking in the coming weeks.

In the same episode, ABP news has interviewed many other villagers who have claimed that the news of double income is not correct. It’s very difficult for us to verify any of these claims without talking to farmers.

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