No, Former CEC TS Krishnamurthy Did Not Accuse BJP of EVM Hacking
The Quint traced the report back to a shady and now defunct website called The Daily Graph.
A newspaper clipping claiming the former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) TS Krishnamurthy allegedly said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh by hacking the EVMs with the help of the Election Commission (EC) is doing the rounds on social media.
However, The Quint could trace the report back to a now defunct website called The Daily Graph, which published it in the year 2017. Further, TS Krishnamurthy has himself come out to rubbish the viral quote being attributed to him.
The aforementioned clipping is massively viral on Facebook and Twitter and makes the following claim: “पूर्व मुख्य चुनाव आयुक्त टीएस कृष्णमूर्ति ने यह कह कर सनसनी फैला दी है कि उत्तर प्रदेश उत्तराखंड गुजरात और हिमाचल प्रदेश का चुनाव सिर्फ और सिर्फ बीजेपी नें ईवीएम हेकिंग की वजह से जीता है।”
[Translation: Former CEC TS Krishnamurthy in a sensation remark has claimed that the BJP has won elections in Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh by hacking the EVMs.]
WHAT WE FOUND
We observed that the viral newspaper clipping is not carrying an author’s byline or publication name. Next, we searched Google with “TS Krishnamurthy + EVM Hacking” and found that were no credible news reports supporting the viral claim.
In fact, Hindi news website The Lallantop in a 2018 report stated that the alleged article attributed to TS Krishnamurthy was first published on a website called The Daily Graph — which is now defunct.
We then searched for web archives of the website and found that the said article was published on the website on 21 December 2017.
The text in the viral newspaper clipping was exactly the same as that in the report published by The Daily Graph.
The website did not mention any source or attribution in context of the article. A cursory glance at the content published by the website (available on internet archives) revealed that this was true for most reports as they didn’t cite the source of information or carry author bylines.
Further, we also found a press note dated 11 March, issued by the Election Commission which mentioned that the poll panel has lodged an FIR against the fake news about EVM hacking attributed to former CEC TS Krishnamurthy.
The press note carried a statement by Krishnamurthy who denied making any such remark.
“It has been brought to my notice that a fake news which had appeared in a Hindi newspaper quite some time back is being activated and re-circulated as if that I express doubts about the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machine, EVM, in the conduct of elections in India. This is utterly false and mischievous to circulate a wrong impression in the ensuing elections.”
He added, “I would like to reiterate that the EVMs are most credible and I have no doubt about its efficacy and reliability. Electronic Voting Machine is indeed our nation’s pride and that there cannot be any doubt whatsoever about its credibility.”
Clearly, a false quote attributed to TS Krishnamurthy which could be traced back to a now defunct website, is being used to claim that the former CEC accused BJP of hacking the EVMs to win elections in multiple states. This comes after a video surfaced online which allegedly showed EVMs in the car of Patharkandi BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul.
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