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Voter Fraud In Assam? Viral Video Showing Man Casting 5 Votes For BJP Candidate Is From Mock Poll

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

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

A person casts five consecutive votes for the BJP candidate in the Karimganj Lok Sabha constituency of Assam, during the second phase of the elections on April 26, 2024.

 The archived version of the tweet can be seen here.

Fact

Newschecker first ran a keyword search for “Karimganj voter fraud”, which led us to this News9 report, dated April 28, 2024, stating that the viral video, which triggered a political firestorm, was said to be shot during a mock poll, prompting a show-cause notice from the District Election Officer (DEO) to the polling officials.

A relevant keyword search led us to this press release from the District Election Officer, Karimganj, posted by the official Twitter handle of the District Commissioner, Karimganj, on April 28, 2024.

“A video is being shared on the social media where it is seen that few persons are casting votes in favour of BJP Candidate on 26th April…On receiving this complaint, matter was brought during scrutiny…as per statement of Presiding Officer Shri, Nazrul Haque Tapadar, the said video was taken during mock poll and later on CRC (Close Result Clear) was done before the start of the Actual Poll. Same is also corroborated by the statements of persons visible in the shared video namely Abdul Sahid S/o Ajimuddinn, Vill – Chenjur who is Polling agent of Abdul Hameed, independent candidate,” read the press release, adding that according to procedure, polling agents are allowed to cast few votes in favour of the candidate during mock poll. “Statements of other polling agents are underway and polling officials have been served show-cause notice in this regard,” further said the press release.

Another press release was issued by the DEO, dated April 28, 2024, reiterating that the video was taken only during the mock poll and not related to the actual polling, where there were no violations of procedure.

“This was also confirmed and clarified during the scrutiny process which happened at 11 AM 27th April 2024 in the presence of General Observer and Contesting Candidates. However, it is further clarified that the said incident during the mock poll was a gross violation of ECI instructions on prohibition of carrying mobile phones inside the polling station. For violation of ECI instructions, disciplinary action has already been taken against the Presiding Officer and lawful action will also be taken against the polling agent who violated the instruction of not carrying the mobile phone inside the polling station,” read the press release. News reports on the incident can be seen here and here.

Independent candidate Abdul Hameed, whose polling agent was seen in the video, reportedly attributed the incident to the negligence of polling officials who allegedly left the EVMs unattended during breakfast hours. “Abdul Sahid informed me that the video was recorded for amusement before the start of the election at around 6:30am,” Hameed told ETV Bharat, which further confirms that it was not taken during the actual poll on Friday.

The Election Commission of India, too, debunked the viral video in a tweet, dated April 29, 2024, terming the allegation as “false and misleading”.

Also Read: 2019 Video Of Mob Attacking BJP Leader Revived Amid Lok Sabha Polls

Result: False

Sources
Tweet, District Commissioner, Karimganj, April 28, 2024
Tweet, District Commissioner, Karimganj, April 28, 2024
ETV Bharat report, April 29, 2024


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

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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