“Karnataka will vote on 12May 2018, counting will be on 18May2018”. The journalists waiting at the press conference were in for a rude shock when at 11.08 am the BJP IT cell head, Amit Malviya, tweeted the dates of the Karnataka elections even before the Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat made the announcement at 11.23 am.

It turned out that Malviya was not alone in tweeting the dates. Srivatsa, Karnataka Congress Social Media in-charge, had also tweeted the same at the same time as Malviya. His tweet however didn’t get as much attention as Malviya’s. Both tweets were later deleted.

Malviya’s tweet led to a major outrage on social media with users questioning the objectivity of the Election Commission and the sanctity of the election process. When asked, how he got access to the dates before the EC announced them, Malviya claimed that it was on Times Now.

Srivatsa also claimed that he got the information by watching local and national media channels.

Alt News accessed the live TV program using JIO APP and Yupp TV and discovered that Times Now had indeed made the announcement before Amit Malviya. It was 11:06/11:07 am when Times Now announced the election dates on air. “BREAKING: First on Times Now,” the claim tweeted later by Times Now was indeed true.

Here’s a screenshot from Jio APP.

The following video shows the Times Now Broadcast in that period.

Times Now had tweeted at 11.14 am, a few minutes after Malviya but still before the EC announcement. Times now subsequently deleted this tweet.

The leak of the information was not limited to Times Now alone. Kannada channels TV9 Karnataka, BTV, TV5 Kannada and Suvarna News also aired the dates around the same time.

Chief Election Commissioner expressed shock when informed about the journalists at the press conference that the BJP IT cell head had already tweeted the dates. He assured that the leak will be investigated and befitting legal and administrative actions will be taken.

A leak of this nature seriously compromises the sanctity of the election process. We hope the Election Commission will get to the bottom of this and take action against the culprits.