The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) West Bengal unit has written to the state's Chief Electoral Officer on the basis of a debunked image, falsely claiming that Trinamool Congress Party ( TMC) MP Mahua Moitra breached the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in place for an upcoming by-election.
BOOM Bangla was the first fact-checking website to debunk viral posts related to the image which claimed Moitra had violated the MCC by going door-to-door campaigning along with a police official. The photograph is not recent and was actually taken in August this year.
The by-elections in Karimpur, Nadia, along with three other areas for Assembly seats in West Bengal, will be held on November 25.
Tushar Kanti Ghosh, State Secretary of BJP West Bengal, sent a letter on Monday to the EC claiming Moitra broke the rules by taking Sumit Kumar Ghosh officer in charge (OC) of Thanarpara, door-to-door campaigning. The complaint was accompanied by a photograph of Moitra interacting with a woman as the Thanarpara OC can be seen in the background.
An excerpt of Ghosh’s letter addressed to the CEO read, “The attached photo shows the presence of Shri Ghosh the O/C along with the MP of AITC Smt Mahua Mitra while she is doing a door to door campaign for the by-elections.” The BJP further demanded an “immediate transfer of the OC.”
The letter along with the image was tweeted by Kailash Vijayvargiya, the national general secretary of the BJP, accusing the West Bengal police of joining hands with the TMC ahead of the by-elections.
Meanwhile, in reply to the letter, Subrata Bakshi, the general secretary of the All India Trinamool Congress, accused the BJP of “peddling fake news and falsehood”.
Bakshi in the letter addressed to the CEO (WB) and Election Commission of India, cited BOOM Bangla’s fact check. The fact-check stated that the image was clicked on August 18, when Maitra had gone to her Krishnanagar constituency’s Karimpur area to interact with party workers.
The same was tweeted by Moitra.
An excerpt from the letter read, "In addition to the above, a number of social media fact-checking websites have already marked out this particular piece of BJP propaganda as fake news. One such link is attached below." Below is the screenshot of the link cited in the complaint.
More photographs of Moitra in Karimpur's vegetable fields and interaction with the villagers taken from the same day can be seen below.
BOOM has reached out to Moitra for a comment, the article will be updated as and when she responds. BOOM also reached out to the OC, Thanarpara, Sumit Kumar Ghosh, who refused to comment due to the Model Code Of Conduct that is operative in Karimpur now.