Uttar Pradesh entered the seventh and the last phase of Assembly Elections 2022 on 7 March, in which 54 constituencies across nine districts are casting their votes. Amid this, a video of vote tampering has surfaced on social media.
The viral video is a news report by News18 in which people are accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of bribing and asking them not to cast votes. They allege that they were given money, were inked on the finger without consent and were directed not to cast votes.
At the beginning of the video, a youth who introduces himself as Virendra Kumar makes the same allegations and reveals the BJP members' names. Another middle-aged man and woman also make similar claims and tell that the same incident had happened with almost everyone in the district where people were forcefully inked and were given Rs 500.
The video is shared on social media with a sarcastic Hindi caption. "दुनिया का सबसे बड़ा लोकतंत्र!" (English translation- The world's largest democracy!)
Another Facebook user wrote, "दुनिया का सबसे बड़ा लोकतंत्र! #उत्तरप्रदेश ये हॉल हैं जबरदस्ती #ऊँगली में #इंक लगाया जा रहा हैं और #पैसे दिए जा रहे हैं ,कहा जा रहा हैं की वोट देने नहीं जाना हैं।कब तक चलेगी बीजेपी की काली करतूत."
[English Translation: World's largest democracy! This is the condition in Uttar Pradesh. Ink is being forcibly applied in the voters' fingers, and money is being given, it is being told not to go for vote. How long BJP will do such things?]
The video is shared on Twitter and Facebook with the same caption.
The viral video claims Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bribing people and asking them not to vote.
We noticed News18 Logo can be seen in viral videos, and also none of the people in the video is wearing masks, including policemen. It hinted to us that the video could of pre-covid. Taking a hint from it, We extracted different keyframes from the viral video using the InVid tool and conducted a Google reverse image search. It led us to a video report of News18 dated 19 May 2019 in which the same footage can be seen. According to the report, the viral video is of the 2019 Lok Shabha elections where people of Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency claimed that the BJP is bribing people and asked them not to vote. The people of Dalit Basti accused BJP workers of distributing 500 rupees and putting ink on their fingers even without voting.
We also found the same video on a YouTube channel of News18 Urdu, Zee News Times Now. According to the video report of Mirror Now dated 19 May 2019, Chandauli SDM Harsh Kumar said that late-night it has been reported that the people of Dalit Basti of Tarajivanpur village alleged that BJP workers have distributed money to them and put ink on their hands for not voting. People demanded strict action against them. ANI also tweeted about this incident back then.
On searching more, we also found a tweet of Chandrauli Police and UP Police fact check dated 4 March 2022, in which they rubbished the viral claim. The wrote, "The matter is related to Lok Sabha elections 2019 in which necessary legal action has been taken at that time.@chandaulipolicehas denied this misleading post. Please don't spread rumours by posting misleading without verification."
Our investigation shows that the viral video accusing BJP of distributing money to voters is not recent but from the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It is being falsely shared by linking it with the ongoing UP polls. Hence, the viral claim is misleading.
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