Report Suggesting Alternate Constituencies for CM Patnaik Is Fake
The BJP Yuva Morcha used a fabricated report to allege that the CM had other reasons for contesting from two seats.
On Monday, 19 March, youth wing BJP Yuva Morcha alleged at a press conference CM Naveen Patnaik’s decision to contest the Odisha polls from two seats was based on intelligence gathered by a non-existent ‘State Intelligence Branch’. The party even produced a report to make their point, which has since been proven to be fake.
The said press conference was held shortly after Patnaik announced that he would be contesting the Odisha polls from a second seat as well, that of Bijepur, apart from his home turf of Hinjili.
According to the doctored letter, the ‘State Intelligence Branch’ (SIB), after carrying out a review of some Assembly constituencies, had recommended that Patnaik not contest from Hinjili owing to a variety of reasons. The letter even went on to provide a list of viable options that the CM should rather contest from.
News organisations picked the letter after the conference and ran stories assuming it was real, while some people on Twitter tweeted about the letter, questioning Patnaik’s decision and saying it was playing safe or cowardice.
The BJP Odisha’s Twitter handle also tweeted out a news outlet’s video, claiming that the secret letter had exposed the CM’s plan to contest from Western Odisha.
“After the SIB reported about the anger among people in Hinjili about distribution of money under KALIA scheme and only BJD supporters getting the cyclone relief money, the CM has decided to fight from Western Odisha out of fear,” the tweet said.
However, the fake letter, which is even signed off by the Special DG of Police, Intelligence, Odisha, has now publicly been denounced. The Twitter handle of the DGP, Odisha said that it was a fake document and clarified that it had been fabricated. It also added that an FIR had been registered in the matter.
The Odisha police handle also tweeted, saying that legal action was being taken against the people behind the letter. It also appealed to people to stop circulating the unverified information.
The Biju Janata Dal has also rejected the letter.
According to The New Indian Express, the FIR stated that there is no section in the Intelligence Directorate called SIB Political Desk. “The letter has not been issued from any of the offices of Intelligence Directorate. The purported letter has been manipulated and fabricated,” it added.
Letter Was Viral During Karnataka Assembly Polls
Reports said that a similar fake letter was doing the rounds during the 2018 Karnataka Assembly polls as well. While the heading and the first paragraph have been copied in the Odisha letter completely, the rest has been doctored to fit the context. The original fake letter, too, suggested alternative constituencies for then CM Siddaramaiah.
BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra told Odisha Television News that the BJP had produced this letter because they were scared of Patnaik’s decision to contest from Western Odisha.
At a press conference on Tuesday, BJD MP and party spokesperson Pratap Deb pointed out that the number on the intelligence report was also the same as that on the letter in Karnataka and threatened to move the Election Commission against the BJP.
The number indeed is the same: SIB-PD (CMO)364. Only the year has been changed to reflect 2019 in the Odisha letter. According to Nation First, the Karnataka CMO had also ordered a probe into the fake letter.
(With inputs from The New Indian Express, Odisha Television News and Nation First.)
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