A video of a man opening an envelope that has cash in it is being shared on social media with the claim that money is being distributed ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections which begins on 10 February.
A man's face and the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) lotus symbol can be seen on the cover of the envelope.
However, we found that the claim that the video is related to the UP elections is false. We could trace the video back to October 2021 when the Huzurabad bypoll in Telangana was taking place.
According to news reports, multiple such videos had emerged at that time claiming that the BJP and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) allegedly gave cash for votes during the poll campaign.
The video is being shared on social media along with the claim in Hindi that reads, "ध्यान से देखिए यूपी मे पैसा बटना शुरू हो गया है."
(Translation: Watch carefully! Money distribution in UP has begun.)
WHAT WE FOUND
With the help of InVID, a video verification tool, we extracted several keyframes from the video and conducted a reverse image search on some of them.
We found a Facebook video uploaded by one Afzal Hussain, whose Facebook page mentioned that he is associated with Congress.
The video was uploaded on 28 October 2021 and mentioned that money was distributed during the Huzurabad bypoll.
Taking a cue from here, we searched on Google and came across a news report by The News Minute published on the same date.
The report mentioned that protestors had gathered at the Kamalapur Mandal office in Telangana’s Huzurabad Assembly constituency as they were allegedly unhappy for not receiving cash promised to them by several political parties for the Huzurabad bypoll that was held on 30 October 2021.
The report also carried several videos, one of which was the viral video uploaded by All India Congress Committee in-charge for Telangana and Member of Parliament (MP), Manickam Tagore on 28 October.
Tagore had alleged that money was being distributed during the bypoll and he demanded that the Election Commission of India (ECI) countermand the bye-poll.
We also found another report by India Today from 28 October 2021 that read that several videos had surfaced then that claimed that BJP and the ruling TRS-led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao allegedly gave cash for votes during campaigning for Huzurabad Assembly bypolls.
Envelope Shows Telangana BJP's Eatala Rajender's Face
Further, we could match the face on the envelope in the two videos that were shared by Tagore (one of which is viral now) with that of Huzurabad Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Eatala Rajender, formerly with TRS who was sacked from the cabinet on the allegations of land encroachment, and had later joined the BJP in 2021.
We also reached out to senior journalist Surya Reddy who, too, confirmed to us that the video is from the Huzurabad bypoll time when several such videos with money in envelopes having BJP and TRS party symbol were doing the rounds on social media alleging votes for cash.
He also sent us the video which is now viral ahead of the UP polls.
Clearly, a video that had surfaced during the Huzurabad bypoll in Telangana alleging votes for cash is being now shared ahead of the 2022 UP polls.
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