Two Andhra Pradesh exit poll graphics containing the logo of the media outlet, The News Minute, are doing rounds on social media. The graphics present exit poll figures by 7 organisations including India Today-Axis, CNN News18-IPSOS, Times Now VMR, Republic-Jan Ki Baat, Republic-CVoter, NewsX-NETA and Today’s Chanakya. In one graphic, all the surveys show the NDA leading by a huge margin against the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh. In contrast, the other graphic shows the YSRCP leading by the same margins against the NDA.

On May 13, Andhra Pradesh went for simultaneous elections for its 175-member assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats. Led by CM Jagan Mohan Reddy, YSRCP (Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party) contested all the seats in both the polls. The TDP-BJP-JSP alliance is the major opposition force against the ruling party.

An unverified X (formerly Twitter) account, @YSR175, tweeted the graphic with the caption, “Exit poll in AP.” This graphic depicts YSRCP leading by a large margin against the NDA. The tweet received over 457,600 views, 2,800 likes and 537 retweets.

A verified user on X, Swathi Reddy (@Swathireddytdp) shared another graphic with a caption written in Telugu which translates to ”The mentioned institutes that conducted the exit poll servers are not random ones!!
Even Times Now, which took 6 crores for the promotion of government schemes, is saying that Jagan’s time is over!! These survey organizations have given minimum 108 to maximum 158 seats to Telugu Desam alliance!! So, say it loudly #ByeByeJagan”

In the tweet, Swati referred to a deal of Rs. 8.16 crore signed in 2020 by the YSRCP government with the Times Group to boost their government schemes and policies through the conglomerate’s media network. The graphic tweeted by Swati depicts NDA leading against the YSRCP. It received over 1.5 Lakh views.

Other users have also shared the graphics on X.

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Fact Check

First of all, it is important to note that as per Election Commission (EC) rules, exit polls data can’t be conducted or published while elections are on. The relevant EC notification can be found here. This suggests that the viral graphics are possibly not genuine.

A keyword search on X led us to a tweet by the editor-in-chief of The News Minute, Dhanya Rajendran. She clarified that the media outlet had not published any exit poll results and that she was not aware of the source of the viral graphic.

The News Minute also posted a clarification on their official page on X, stating, ”This is to clarify that an old image from our story written in 2019 has been shared falsely claiming that we have made a prediction for the Andhra Pradesh Assembly election. It is to be noted that as per the Model Code of Conduct no agency/news organisation can share any figures/opinion polls/ exit polls until the conclusion of the elections, which is still underway in other parts of the country.”

Taking a cue from this, we did a keyword search on Google, which led us to the 2019 exit poll report published by The News Minute, titled ‘Mixed predictions for TDP and YSRCP in Andhra for Lok Sabha: Exit polls’.

The report features a graphic similar to the viral ones, where the names of the seven organisations are exactly in the same order and the number of seats allocated for ‘other parties’ remained 0-1 in all the graphics. However, we noticed that the graphic published in the report depicts exit polls for two major parties in Andhra Pradesh- TDP and YSRCP, while the viral images depict exit polls for the NDA and the YSCRP. The number of seats allocated is also different in the viral graphics and the original one. The text ‘TDP’ in the original graphic was edited and replaced with the text ‘NDA’ in the viral images. Besides, the respective seats depicted in the viral images have been also edited and added to the original graphic published by the media outlet.

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Today’s Chanakya also posted on X saying that the fake exit poll numbers were being circulated under their name. The organisation has not yet released any such data.

To sum up, social media users are circulating two graphics containing the logo of ‘The News Minute’, depicting false exit-poll numbers for the 2024 Andhra Pradesh assembly elections. Our fact check revealed that both the graphics are edited. Neither The News Minute nor the seven organisations listed in the graphic have released any such data.

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