As the exit polls predicted an NDA victory in the Lok Sabha elections, opposition leaders and some ‘journalists’ who actually seem to be working as media representatives of the opposition parties have been going full throttle to peddle lies and outlandish claims concerning EVMs. These logic-defying claims are not only undermining the credibility of the Election Commission of India but also cast doubt on the election process, thereby attempting to disregard the public mandate.
Yesterday, several journalists had tried to peddle the baseless claims and videos being circulated on social media. The ECI had debunked the claims of EVM replacement or safety issues by issuing clarifications, reinforced by support from representatives of candidates at each location concerned, removing all doubts and aspersions.
However, some ‘journalists’ have not stopped their attempts to spread fake news. ‘Journalist’ Saba Naqvi, who has been called out for being an AAP cheerleader time and again, was found peddling a lie published by AAP propaganda blog Janta Ka Reporter.
Saba attempted to spread the ‘EVM replacement’ lie that was already clarified by ECI. To reinforce the lie, she shared a report by the pro-AAP blog that was already busted for its fake news. When Saba says 20 lakh EVMs are missing, she essentially says votes of 400 crore voters have gone missing. A single EVM can store 2,000 votes. That means if 20 lakh EVMs have gone ‘missing’, votes of as many as 400 crore voters have gone ‘missing’. Which is more than 4 times the actual number of eligible voters in India (90 crore).
The article Saba shared was about the ’20 lakh missing EVMs’ claim that was busted earlier this month.
In an article published earlier this month, The Frontline magazine, published by The Hindu group had claimed that 20 lakh EVMs have gone missing from the possession of ECI. The article had cited an RTI-based PIL in the Bombay High Court to support its claim.
However, the ECI had responded to the claims that were subsequently run by TV9 Bharatvarsh and had stated that the article had selectively quoted partial and one-sided information.
“It is noticed that this news story has selectively quoted some information obtained by an individual through RTI application from multiple Pubic Authorities and a PIL filed in the Bombay High Court. This news story carries only partial and one-sided information, which is inaccurate and based on the specious misinterpretation of the facts in the matter, therefore creating unwarranted doubts in the minds of the general public,” the statement read.
Rejecting these claims, the statement pointed out that ECI follows strict protocols and compliance procedures regarding the movement of the EVMs and VVPATs and no machine can leave the designated ECI warehouse without prior approval of the commission.
The editors of Frontline and TV9 Bharatvarsh have been informed due details with respect to misleading stories carried in their magazine/Channel. Editor Frontline has acknowledged that due rejoinder shall be published. TV9channel has deleted the story from their telecast pic.twitter.com/AwzZlFeRGA
— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) May 9, 2019
Following the rejection of the claims by ECI and the clarification over the issue, Frontline magazine had accepted that their report is false and a rejoinder will be published. TV9 Bharatvarsh had removed the report from their website and YouTube channel.
AAP propaganda blog Janta Ka Reporter had referred to the same claims in the article on May 8 that was shared by Saba. However, it is notable here that the propaganda blog had also made a video on the report and that report was taken down by Twitter for the fake news it peddled.
Janta Ka Reporter’s Raifat Jawed had even attempted to cry victim after his fake news peddling video was taken down by Twitter. He had stated that the ECI had bullied Twitter into removing the video.
While Frontline magazine and TV9 Bharatvarsh acknowledged their mistake after the ECI’s clarification, Janta Ka Reporter had tried to brazen it out. However, Saba Naqvi sharing the fake news weeks after the claims were already busted only shows the extent to which opposition parties and their ecosystem are willing to go in their attempts to subvert the electoral mandate.
Saba’s claims and attempts to peddle lies were called out by Twitter users too.
O my poor saba. Now when VVPAT’s r used so ur EVM hack drama was made null n void u come up with new drama of EVM replacement. Do u even know how much 20 lakh is? So y don’t u go to Police or Supreme Court instead of comming to Social Media? Go to sleep baby for nexy 5 years.
— Aun Bakshi (@user_arun) May 21, 2019
Each EVM is GPS tracked. Those having doubts should seek GPS audit. Standby EVMs don’t travel with used EVMs. If u don’t trust me ref to @dhanyarajendran tweet on my timeline. For us who have no pol axe to grind should rise above this mudslinging.
— Khamkheyali (whimsical) (@SaurabhB69) May 21, 2019
Some political leaders are already calling for violence and attempting to incite riots in case the results do not favour them. Journalists and social media influencers sharing fake news is just another part of the same goal. It is indeed unsettling how, even after repeated clarification, lack of any evidence and continuous debunking of their lies, some vested interests are hell bent to peddle their agendas just on lies and assumptions.
This is another in the series of lies being peddled by AAP, Congress and other opposition parties and their media accomplices to spread doubts in the minds of the public. On Monday, AAP’s social media team member had peddled a fake ‘news telecast’ made by a dubious ‘Tricolour News Network’ that is owned by a Romanian lady who also owns businesses that promises sensual massages to people. As the counting of votes will commence tomorrow, in the coming hours, the lies being peddled will expectedly intensify further.