Right wing site Postcard News shared a false graphic claiming the Election Commission of India has released data that shows 91 percent Muslims voted for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and 41.6 percent Hindus voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recent West Bengal elections.
The graphic conveying the voting patterns of Hindu and Muslim voters in the recently concluded elections to the assembly of West Bengal is false. The numbers in the graphic are attributed to the Election Commission of India (ECI) which are fabricated and false, as the ECI does not release such statistics about voting pattern in an election.
Postcard News headed by Mahesh Hegde has in the past too shared fake news of a communal nature and has been factchecked by BOOM.
(An archive of the tweet posted above can be found here)
The source of the data, according to the poster, is the ECI which gives out the following numbers:
On Hindus -
- 32.8% Hindus did not vote
- 25.5% Hindus hailing from urban and semi-urban regions voted for parties opposing the Bharatiya Janta Party [BJP] and NOTA
- 41.6% Hindus voted for the BJP
On Muslims -
- 91% Muslims voted for the Trinamool Congress [TMC]
- 3% voted for non-TMC parties and NOTA
- 1% voted for the BJP
The poster can be seen below.
It has also been used on social media in various forms.
The TMC won the election, getting 213 seats of 292 seats that went to the polls despite a hefty BJP political overdrive in the state, which has since then given rise to post-poll violence and its fair share of fake news.
BOOM checked all publicly available data with the ECI to find that no religion-wise voter trends have been displayed by the ECI during the West Bengal polls. On West Bengal's 2021 election portal, the data that is available is on number of votes and vote share at the political party level, the seats won by political parties, constituency-wise trends and the winner and winning margin in each constituency.
The above mentioned numbers are not only available for West Bengal, but also for Assam, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the by-polls held in assembly constituencies across India.
These data points can be found here.
The ECI as an institution does not put out information on voters' religious affiliation.
Publicly available historical electoral information shows that the voter distinctions that the ECI makes public are:
- Gender breakup - votes cast by voters who are male, female or of a third gender
- Votes cast by service and overseas voters
These data points can be found here for the Lok Sabha election held in 2019, and here and here for the Bihar elections that was concluded in 2020 (among other elections) to show that data on religion or caste is not put out by the ECI.
The ECI also has a prior record of denying collecting voter information based on caste or religion.
In 2009, on reports that a district election office in Jharkhand had asked for the number of voters from a particular community, the ECI in a clarification said, "The Commission hereby wishes to clarify that it does not collect information about religion or caste of voters. The Commission has directed that such information should not be collected by any election authority."
This can be read here.
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