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Former Jansatta Editor Om Thanvi shares a 3-year-old misleading video to claim BJP is involved in electoral malpractice in UP assembly polls

Om Thanvi, formerly associated with Hindi daily Jansatta, shared a misleading video from May 2019 wherein residents of Tara Jivanpur village in Chanda

Ahead of the 7th phase of Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha polls, ‘journalist’ Om Thanvi shared an old, misleading video to insinuate that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is involved in election malpractice. Thanvi was associated with Hindi daily Jansatta and served as its Editor from 1999 to 2015.

In a video shared by Thanvi on Friday (March 4), a man (dressed in blue) named Virendra Kumar could be heard claiming that three BJP workers were distributing money among electorates and inking their hands to prevent them from casting their votes. “They told me not to vote, handed me ₹500 and forcibly inked my index finger,” he alleged.

Furthermore, an Opposition party leader could be heard claiming that the ‘election malpractice’ was being done on the behest of BJP candidate Mahinder Pandey. He alleged that Pandey sent his men to lure voters with money and inked their hands. He even threatened to stage a protest, demanding the right to vote from Election Commission (EC) for those who were ‘fraudulently’ stopped from casting their votes.

Screengrab of the tweet by Om Thanvi

Another woman had also claimed that a BJP worker by the name of Chota Tiwari. While posting the contentious video on Twitter, OM Thanvi wrote, “Duniya ka sabse bada Loktantra (This is the plight in the biggest democracy of the world).”

By sharing this video amidst the ongoing polls in Uttar Pradesh, Om Thanvi tried to cast aspersions about the manner in which elections are being conducted in the State. The ‘journalist’ attempted to create an atmosphere of doubt and suspicion, which could be exploited if BJP is re-elected to power.

What is the Truth?

The contentious video dates back to May 2019 when residents of Tara Jivanpur village in Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh alleged that ink was forcefully applied on their fingers and ₹500 was handed to them during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

While speaking about the matter, the then Chandauli Sub-Divisional Magistrate Kr Harsh had said, “Complainants are present at the police station. We will take action as per the complaint they file. They are still eligible to cast votes as the elections hadn’t begun then, they will have to mention in the FIR that ink was forcefully applied to them.”

Screengrab of the news report by The Economic Times

As such, the video is 3 years old and has nothing to do with the 2022 Vidhan Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh. The official Twitter handle of UP Police also made it clear that the video is from 2019.

“The matter is related to the Lok Sabha elections 2019 in which necessary legal action was taken at that time. Chandauli Police has debunked this misleading post. Please don’t spread rumours by posting unverified content,” it tweeted.

Despite being ‘fact-checked’ by the UP Police, ‘journalist’ Om Thanvi did not bother to apologise or take down the video.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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