Ahead of the upcoming Assembly election in the state of West Bengal, a newspaper clipping claiming that 66 fake Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) were seized from the house of a Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, has gone viral.
However, we found that the said clipping is related to Beawar in Rajasthan’s Ajmer district and not West Bengal, as claimed. Further, a local reporter confirmed to us that it’s an old piece of news.
The claim shared along with the image reads: “बंगाल में पूर्ण बहुमत से सरकार बनाने की पूरी तैयारी हो चुकी है भाइयों.” (Translated: All preparations have been made to form a majority government in Bengal, brothers)
The image was shared by several users on Facebook and Twitter with the same claim.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Since the 2018 posts carried a slightly clearer version of the newspaper clipping, we noticed that the said report is from Beawar in Rajasthan’s Ajmer district.
Using relevant keywords, we ran a search on Google and found that media outlet Patrika had carried a report on the incident in Beawar on 4 December 2018. As per the article, the city police caught 66 “symbolic EVM promotional material” from a house.
“The election symbol and name of independent candidate Surendra Goyal from Jaitaran region was mentioned in them,” the report added.
Speaking to The Quint’s WebQoof team, a local reporter said that the viral clipping in question is old and pertains to Beawar in Ajmer district.
Regarding political affiliation of Surendra Goyal, the viral clipping stated that he was a former BJP minister and had contested the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly election as an independent candidate.
As per the official website of the Election Commission of India, Goyal had contested from the Jaitaran region as an independent candidate in 2018.
Evidently, an old newspaper clipping on fake EVMs seized in Rajasthan was revived to falsely claim that the incident is from West Bengal.