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HomeFact CheckElection Commissioner Skipped Question On Alleged Biases Towards Ruling Party Leaders? No,...

Election Commissioner Skipped Question On Alleged Biases Towards Ruling Party Leaders? No, Viral Claim Is False

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
Election Commissioner skipped question on alleged inaction against ruling party leaders over moral code violations.

Fact
A longer version of the video shows the Election Commissioner answering the question.

A video of a journalist quizzing the Chief Election Commissioner over an alleged bias in treatment of model code violators from the ruling party is being widely shared on social media platforms, with users claiming that the “spineless ECI” dodged the question. Newschecker found that a cropped footage from the Election Commission’s press conference on 2024 elections has been shared to misleadingly claim that the Election Commissioner skipped a question on alleged inaction on ruling party leaders for code violations.

In the footage, the journalist can be heard saying “You had said in your speech that… there should be no hate speech… there will be a calibrated approach to code violations. But there have been several complaints against the Prime Minister and Amit Shah… ECI has not taken action against them. You have taken action against the opposition leaders. So even if you take a calibrated approach, so won’t it be the opposition leaders who get picked up more? Who will get notice from you more than the ruling party leaders? (sic)”

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh was among multiple social media users who shared the 39-second-long-clip, with an in-video text saying, “A brave journalist asked, “Why isn’t the ECI taking action against Modi & Shah for their hate speeches?” But the spineless ECI skipped the question.”

Such posts can be seen here, here, here, here, here and here.

Also Read: Viral Images Claiming To Prove Mamata Banerjee Faked Her Injury Found To Be Unrelated

Fact Check/Verification

On carefully analysing the viral video, we spotted a banner saying “Elections 2024” in the backdrop. This led us to conclude that the viral footage is from the recent press conference by the ECI on 2024 General and State Assembly Elections.

screengrab from viral video

Following this, we skimmed through the video of the press conference that was live streamed on the official YouTube channel of the Election Commission on March 16, 2024.

Around 58 minutes into the video, the Chief Election Commissioner, Rajiv Kumar ends his address and starts taking questions from the media. The moderator can be heard saying that the CEC will take 4-5 questions at once. At the counters of 1:00:47, the woman seen in the viral video introduces her as Ashlin Mathew from National Herald, and raises her question regarding the ECI’s alleged inaction against the ruling party leaders despite code violations.

Screengrab from YouTube video by ECI

This is followed by a question by another journalist. After which the CEC starts replying to the questions one-by-one. At the counters of 1:10:23, CEC Kumar replies to Mathew’s question saying that they have taken action whenever a violation has been established in the previous 11 elections. Adding that a case of violation is established no matter “how so ever high, star campaigner he or she may be, we will not sit back. We will take action.”

Also Read: Pak Based Power Firm Did Not Buy Electoral Bonds In India, Here’s What Our Ground Report Reveals

Furthermore, we found a report in the National Herald by Mathew, dated March 16, 2024, stating, “Responding to a question by National Herald, chief election commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said, “Wherever there’s a violation established, we will not sit back. We will take action – whosoever the person is, however high they are.”

Screengrab from National Herald website

Adding, “The reply came as NH pointed out that in the past elections in recent years, the poll panel had desisted from taking action against senior government functionaries—including the prime minister and the Union home minister—despite complaints of them allegedly violating the model code of conduct.”

Also Read: 2022 Video From Rajasthan Shared As Massive Support To Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra In Nashik

Conclusion

Viral post claiming that the Election Commissioner skipped a question on alleged biasness over action against ruling party leaders over code violations is false. A longer version of the ECI’s press conference shows that CEC Rajiv Kumar did reply to the question.

Result: False

Sources
YouTube Video By Election Commission Of India, Dated March 16, 2024
Report By National Herald, Dated March 16, 2024


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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