Fact check: Was Amit Malviya the first to tweet about Karnataka poll dates?

“Karnataka will vote on 12May 2018, counting will be on 18May2018”. This is the tweet that has landed BJP IT cell incharge Amit Malviya in trouble. Malviya tweeted the dates of the Karnataka assembly election before the Election Commission made the official announcement.

Malviya’s tweet came under fire, seen as a violation of the sanctity of the electoral process. He was heavily criticised on social media by a number of users. The opposition expectedly latched on to this development, and leaders of the Congress party took the lead in ridiculing Malviya who has been at the receiving end since he tweeted the date of the elections.

The sniping was not restricted to social media but spilled on to the streets as well, with Youth Congress workers protesting against Malviya.

Prominent news organisations reported how Malviya’s act has brought him under the scrutiny of the Election Commission which will now investigate the leak.

Apart from Malviya, the information was also tweeted by Srivatsa, Karnataka Congress Social Media in-charge at the same time as Malviya. Both later deleted their tweets.

Amit Malviya has resorted to mischief on social media on numerous occasions. However, it turns out that in this instance, it was not him but the TV news channel Times Now that first put out the date of the Karnataka assembly polls, as reported earlier in the day by Alt News.

Times Now flashed the information on the channel at 11:06/11:07 am followed immediately by Kannada news channels, whereas Malviya’s tweet was at 11:08 am. In his defence, Malviya has stated that his tweet was based on the information broadcasted by Times Now. It also stated that Congress’ social media incharge for Karnataka had also tweeted before the EC announcement on the basis of the information put out by Times Now.

BJP has defended Malviya, saying that his tweet was based on information from news channels, adding that he should not have tweeted it.

Amit Malviya has been exposed on numerous occasions by Alt News in the past for spreading disinformation. However, this time around, BJP’s IT cell incharge has been caught in a web of his own making. However, in this particular instance, it was not Malviya but Times Now that tweeted the poll dates before the EC had formally announced them.

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