Postcard News Shares False Graphic on Religion of Voters in WB
We found that the ECI does not collect or share information based on the religion and caste of voters.
Right wing propaganda website Postcard News shared a false infographic claiming that the Election Commission of India (ECI) had said that 91 percent Muslims voted for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and 41.6 percent Hindus voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recent West Bengal elections.
However, we reached out to the ECI and the official spokesperson said that the poll body does not collect or share information about religion or caste of voters during any election. We also didn't find such a classification on the ECI website.
Postcard News has shared several false and misleading news in the past that has been fact-checked by The Quint's WebQoof team.
The graphic, quoting the ECI, shared by Postcard News said the following:
- 32.8% Hindus did not vote
- 25.5% Hindus hailing from urban and semi-urban regions voted for TMC, CPM, Congress, ISF and NOTA.
- 41.6% Hindus voted for the BJP
- 91% Muslims voted for the TMC
- 3% voted for Left parties, Congress and ISF and NOTA
- 1% voted for the BJP
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We checked the ECI website for all the publicly available data on voters and didn't find any data classifying the voters on the basis of religion or caste.
As per the ECI website, the TMC won the election after getting 213 seats of 292 seats that went to the polls. BJP managed to get 77 seats while Left-Congress alliance secured only 1 seat.
The election commissions' results portal contained data on the number of votes and vote-share each party got, the seats won by the parties, constituencies and round-wise trends of all candidates and the winning margin in each constituency.
We reached out to the official spokesperson of ECI, Sheyphali Sharan, to see if there was any truth to the claim.
Sharan said that the ECI doesn't maintain data based on religion.
“ECI classifies voters under demographic categories of male, female, third gender, senior citizens, service voters eligible for ETPBS, overseas voters, persons with disabilities and recently covid suspect/affected - who were facilitated in last hour of polling, but never on the basis of religion,” Sharan said.
We checked the results of the previous elections and found that the ECI didn't release any data on the basis of the religion of the voter.
Moreover, India follows a secret ballot system, which means that nobody, including the ECI, would have information on the voters' choice.
In 2009, there were reports saying that a district election office in Jharkhand had asked for the number of voters from a particular community.
The ECI, in a press release, had said, “The Commission hereby wishes to clarify that it does not collect information about religion or caste of voters. The Commission has directed that such information should not be collected by any election authority.”
Evidently, the claim that ECI released the data of voters on the basic of their religion is false.
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