“गुजरात और हिमाचल प्रदेश का चुनाव बीजेपी ने ईवीएम हेकिंग से जीता है” (BJP won the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly election by hacking EVMs). This is what former Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishnamurthy is reported to have said, according to a newspaper clipping circulating on social media.

The clipping is widespread on Facebook. Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh had gone to polls in 2017, along with five other states.

Viral since 2017

The alleged quote was first published by a website www.thedailygraph.co.in in 2017. The website doesn’t exist anymore. Its article claimed, “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।” (Former CEC T S Krishnamurthy kicked up a storm by saying that BJP has won the U.P, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh election only on the basis of EVM hacking).

At the time of writing this piece, the said article had been shared 2,571 times on Facebook, although the website, as can be seen from the picture above, faked the share count and claimed it was shared more than 35,000 times across various social media platforms. The report was published on December 21, 2017, three days after the result of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly election was declared. The viral newspaper clipping reproduced thedailygraph’s article verbatim. Alt News could not verify in which newspaper and on which date this report was published.

AAP chief media coordinator Vikas Yogi and former AAP social media and IT head Ankit Lal shared thedailygraph’s article in 2017 while Congress MLA Vikas Thakre had posted it in 2018.

TS Krishnamurthy rubbishes the claim

Former CEC T S Krishnamurthy in a conversation with Alt News rubbished the report, saying he had not made any such remark. “This information is totally wrong, I have never ever expressed any opinion about the working of the EVM in Gujarat elections. I have only defended the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machines. I have no doubts about its integrity”, he clarified. In fact, the report by thedailygraph is all the more mischievous as on December 18, 2017, the day the assembly election results for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were announced, Krishnamurthy had issued a statement saying that EVM bashing must stop as they had ‘done their job well’.

The controversy over the susceptibility of EVMs to hacking has been doing the rounds ever since their introduction in the Indian electoral system in 1998. Hours after the second phase of polling concluded in the ongoing Assam elections, a video surfaced on social media which allegedly showed EVMs in the car of Patharkandi BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul.

The fake quote attributed to the former CEC has been revived as legislative assembly elections are being held in five states.

About the Author

Arjun Sidharth is a writer with Alt News. He has previously worked in the television news industry, where he managed news bulletins and breaking news scenarios, apart from scripting numerous prime time television stories. He has also been actively involved with various freelance projects. Sidharth has studied economics, political science, international relations and journalism. He has a keen interest in books, movies, music, sports, politics, foreign policy, history and economics. His hobbies include reading, watching movies and indoor gaming.