“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.
Now that the BJP IT cell has announced Karnataka elections, time for a sneak preview of our top secret campaign video!
Gifted to us by the BJP President, our campaign in Karnataka is off to a fabulous start. He says Yeddyurappa ran the most corrupt Govt ever…
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 27, 2018
Hahaha. Thanks with this tweet You have confirmed that @malviyamit was the first to tweet the election dates, hence Super Election Commission? He tweets at 11.08am and this @TimesNow tweet is at 11.14am. EC must investigate. https://t.co/Is54QrY1HO
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) March 27, 2018
#AmitMalviya , what are the Lok Sabha election dates ? Bata do, yaar!
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) March 27, 2018
BJP IT Cell Head @malviyamit knew about the Date of Polling of the #KarnatakaElections2018 even before the ECI had announced it. ECI says “Certain things may have leaked.. legal action would be taken”
Important Question- Did Amit Shah/Modi Access it or did ECI leak it to them? pic.twitter.com/oC1qtpIJCH
— Rachit Seth (@rachitseth) March 27, 2018
The sniping was not restricted to social media but spilled on to the streets as well, with Youth Congress workers protesting against Malviya.
Indian youth Congress stage protest against BJP’s social media head Amit Malviya over election date row pic.twitter.com/hDsdtsEdLZ
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) March 27, 2018
Prominent news organisations reported how Malviya’s act has brought him under the scrutiny of the Election Commission which will now investigate the leak.
— NDTV (@ndtv) March 27, 2018
BJP’s Amit Malviya tweets Karnataka poll dates before announcement, EC says action will be taken https://t.co/oKJzoXRTPU
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) March 27, 2018
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.
Letter submitted to the Election Commission by Shri @malviyamit, National In-charge, Information and Technology, BJP regarding a tweet pertaining to the election dates in Karnataka. https://t.co/0mDUFzOKCH pic.twitter.com/CziIhciO2B
— BJP (@BJP4India) March 27, 2018
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’s tweet was based on a TV channel’s source. It had no intention to undermine the stature of EC. A Karnataka Congress leader had also tweeted the same thing. We agree that he (Malviya) shouldn’t have tweeted it: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP after meeting with EC officials pic.twitter.com/McqxhsUZCT
— ANI (@ANI) March 27, 2018
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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