BJP UP West Prez Shares ‘Exit Poll’ Posted By Fake Party Handle
BJP UP West Prez Shares ‘Exit Poll’ Posted By Fake Party Handle
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

BJP UP West Prez Shares ‘Exit Poll’ Posted By Fake Party Handle

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A viral image of polling data graphs, purportedly the exit poll results from the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha elections held on 11 April, has been doing the rounds on social media.

The image shows graphical data that points towards a BJP clean sweep in all the eight constituencies that went to polls on Thursday – Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar.

Notably, it was also shared by Ashwini Tyagi, BJP president, Western UP.

Screenshot of the tweet posted by Ashwini Tyagi, BJP UP West president.
Screenshot of the tweet posted by Ashwini Tyagi, BJP UP West president.
(Photo: Twitter/@ashwinityagibjp)
Screenshot of the original Facebook post.
Screenshot of the original Facebook post.
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook)

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The caption shared with the viral image reads: “लोकसभा चुनाव 2019 पश्चिम उत्तर प्रदेश की 8 सीटों पर भाजपा को प्रचंड बहुमत, पहले चरण के चुनाव के बाद सबसे बड़ा एग्जिट पोल (In all 8 seats of the first phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has attained an absolute majority – the biggest exit poll since the first phase polling).”

It was also shared by many individual users on Facebook and Twitter.

Several Facebook users had shared the ‘exit poll’ image.
Several Facebook users had shared the ‘exit poll’ image.
(Photo: The Quint)

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THE TRUTH

The image of the exit poll results being shared is fake as the Election Commission has prohibited conducting, publishing or publicising the results of exit polls between 11 April and 19 May, while the Lok Sabha polls are underway.

Jagdeep Chhokar, founding-member of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), confirmed to The Quint that publication of any exit polls is prohibited.

“The publication of any such poll, fake or otherwise, on a public platform like Twitter is a clear violation of EC’s guidelines,” Chhokar said.

The EC had clearly stated that “conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicising the result of exit poll by means of the print or electronic media or in any other manner shall be prohibited.”

‘BJP Handles Fake’

The Quint reached out to Amit Malviya, in-charge of BJP's national Information & Technology, who confirmed that the Twitter account in question – that shared the ‘exit poll’ image – was not affiliated with the party.

“All official handles of the BJP are verified on Twitter,” he confirmed.

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But, This Raises a Pertinent Question

If the BJP handles that posted are fake and the exit polls results can’t possibly be real: Why is BJP West UP President Tyagi sharing it on Twitter?

When The Quint reached out to Tyagi over the phone – to ask him if he knew about the veracity of the exit poll and that it flouted EC guidelines – something bizarre happened.

‘Yes, Ashwini Tyagi Speaking... Actually No, I’m Amit’

After identifying himself as Tyagi and asking “What was so wrong with the exit poll tweet (share hi to kiya hai)”, the ‘person’ on the other side of the line back-tracked and said that “he was Amit and not Tyagi”.

On being asked ‘Amit who?’ and ‘why had he identified himself as Tyagi earlier?’, the ‘person’ said that the UP West president was in a meeting and cannot talk and disconnected the phone.

Subsequent attempts to reconnect (or connect?) with Tyagi failed.

In conclusion, the exit poll results in circulation are fake and publication of any such polls is a clear violation of EC’s guidelines.

A citizens’ complaint has been raised about the same with the EC. The poll body is yet to take cognisance of the matter.

(Any response from the BJP or the EC will be updated here as and when available.)

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