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FAKE VS FACT: Video by AAP Member on Foreign News Story of EVM Hacking Fake, Uses British Actress as Anchor

Representative image.

Representative image.

After elections ended on May 19 and exit polls signaled the easy return of the BJP-led NDA to power, many reports appearing to doubt the sanctity and security of EVMs have surfaced.

New Delhi: A video tweeted by a member of AAP’s social media team alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tampered with EVMs in 200 Lok Sabha seats has been confirmed as fake.

Savita Anand, who describes herself as a member of AAP’s Social media team, had tweeted a video that proclaimed: "Expose in International Media: Modi, in a bid to reverse losses in 200 Lok Sabha seats, has changed EVMs (electronic voting machines) in them.

A video clip embedded in the tweet had a blonde women anchor representing a channel named TNN reading out a news bulletin in which she says: “Post May 19, when every political party and person will be relaxing after the long seven-phase election, the switching over of the EVMs in the strong rooms will happen at this time under the watch of BJP sympathisers within the government and its supporters. Targeted states are West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Kerala".

The tweet added: “If this is true, be prepared to hit the streets. There will be a big movement, against dictatorship”.

By evening, however, the tweet was “withheld in India in response to a legal demand”.

The video embedded with the tweet had many issues. The channel, purportedly an international channel, looks suspicious and the news clip even more so. Its name TNN appeared designed to mimic CNN’s design characteristics, but instead of the American cable network’s trademark red colour, TNN has a tricolour scheme that is very close to the Indian national flag. The bigger giveaway is the anchor fronting the so–called trending news item is a London-based actress who goes by the name Kristin Stein (@KristinSteini). Stein’s Twitter profile describes her as an actress and her timeline is mostly about acting and has nothing whatsoever about news television.

This fact check comes amid reports of a surge in allegations of EVM tampering across the country. After elections ended on May 19 and exit polls signaled the easy return of the BJP-led NDA to power, many reports appearing to doubt the sanctity and security of EVMs have surfaced. These have been seized upon by opposition parties.

On Tuesday, leaders of some 22 opposition parties submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission asking for the verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified polling stations should be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of last round of counting, ANI reported. In the memorandum, opposition leaders also demanded that if any discrepancy is found anywhere during the VVPAT verification, 100% counting of paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that assembly segment should be done.

Earlier protests also broke out in some parts of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday after videos of alleged movement and tampering of EVMs went viral on social media. As the videos went viral, workers of various parties held protests in Ghazipur, Chandauli and Dumariyaganj alleging that EVMs were being "moved around" outside strongrooms.

The EC has dismissed these allegations and put out a statement saying its processes were fail-safe and the EVMs were fully secure.