A viral social media message, claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won 165 seats in the recently concluded elections to the legislative assembly of Uttar Pradesh (UP), with a vote margin fewer than 2,000 votes is false.
BOOM found the message to be false for two reasons. First, these margins are not supported by official data from the Election Commission of India as there are only 29 seats where the margin of victory is less than 2,000 votes, with five parties including the BJP having victories within this margin.
Second, the AIMIM contested on only 97 seats in UP, and could not have played spoilsport in 165 seats, as the message claims.
The message insinuates that these margins are small since Assaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) contested the election to help the BJP by eating into Samajwadi Party's (SP) vote share in these 165 seats. The SP, as the overall runner-up in the election, won 111 seats on its own while the BJP won 255 seats, helping them to form the government. AIMIM did not win a single seat.
The BJP, according to the message, won the seats with the following margins in UP:
- 7 seats with difference of 200 votes.
- 23 seats with difference of 500 votes
- 49 seats with difference of 1000 votes
- 86 seats with difference of 2000 votes
The BJP winning 165 seats with a margin of fewer than 2,000 votes would imply that nearly 65% - or more than half - of the seats were won through a low margin of votes.
BOOM got the message on its helpline (+917700906588).
It is also being shared on social media.
Further, wire news service IANS has used these figures in a story on how the AIMIM cut into the opposition vote, giving seven seats as examples. Though these numbers are incorrect and are used in the third paragraph of the story, the seat-level information mentioned in the story on how the votes garnered by the AIMIM in these seven seats is greater than the margin of victory (BJP's votes over SP's votes) is fine.
The election also saw the BJP winning Manipur and Uttarakhand, and becoming the single largest party in Goa, while the Aam Aadmi Party won Punjab.
Contrary to the claim which states that the BJP won on a margin of less than 2,000 seats is false, as there are only 29 seats in the entire election in UP that had a margin of victory of less than 2,000 votes. The winners in these 29 seats, includes the BJP, SP, the Indian National Congress, Apna Dal (Soneylal) and the Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal.
Following is a breakup of these 29 seats.
1. Margin of fewer than 200 votes
There are no seats with a margin of less than 200 votes. The claim states that there are seven.
2. Margin of fewer than 500 votes
There are 11 seats with a margin of more than 200 votes and less than 500 votes. The BJP's Ashok Kumar Rana beat the SP's Naim Ul Hasan by 203 in Dhampur, which is the closest contest this election in UP. All the seats can be found below.
The claim states that there are 23 seats in this category which is false.
3. Margin of fewer than 1,000 votes
There are four seats with a margin of victory that is greater than 500, but is lesser than 1,000 votes.
The claim puts 49 seats in this category.
4. Margin of fewer than 2,000 votes
There are 14 seats with a margin of victory that is greater than 1,000 votes, but lesser than 2,000 votes.
It also consists of one of the victories won by the Indian National Congress, which won only two seats.
The false claims in the viral message puts 86 seats in this bracket.
The ECI's data can be found here.
AIMIM contested on 97 seats
Further, the claim states that the AIMIM has played spoilsport in these 165 seats. This cannot be the case, as the party only contested 97 seats.
However, the party was not able to secure any seats.
The AIMIM got 0.46% of the vote in Uttar Pradesh, which was even lesser than the 0.69% vote NOTA (None Of The Above) - .
An analysis done by The Quint states that the AIMIM cut into the SP's share on only seven seats: Bijnor, Moradabad Nagar, Sultanpur, Kursi, Aurai, Nakur and Shahganj.The biggest damage to the SP's prospects was done by Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, cutting into SP's votes on 27 seats, according to the analysis.
This is not the first time that bogus claims are being made on small electoral margin victories with respect to the BJP. After the elections to the Delhi assembly, which took place in February 2020, BOOM debunked claims that the BJP lost 36 seats, or more than half the seats up for grabs, by a margin of less than 2,000 votes.