“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.
ईश्वर इनकी रक्षा करें 🙏 मॉर्निंग वॉक पर pic.twitter.com/9dysTS0XZF
— 𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐚 𝐀𝐰𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐝 (@IndiaAwakened_) April 2, 2021
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.
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.
Breaking : Situation tense after EVMs found in Patharkandi BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul’s car. pic.twitter.com/qeo7G434Eb
— atanu bhuyan (@atanubhuyan) April 1, 2021
The fake quote attributed to the former CEC has been revived as legislative assembly elections are being held in five states.