Photos from 2019 of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) being taken through a forest area in Raigad, Maharashtra is viral with a false claim that they are EVMs stolen during the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections.
BOOM found that the photos were from the 2019 Vidhan Sabha elections in Maharashtra when polling officers took EVMs to polling booths located in Kalkarai, Raigad district of the state.
In the recent Bihar Assembly Elections, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by Nitish Kumar won the election by a slim margin. Tejashwi Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) emerged as the single largest party in the opposition. Yadav alleged there was a discrepancy in counting, which was later dismissed by the Election Commission of India.
The images are being shared with a false claim these EVMs contain stolen votes in the light of Tejashwi Yadav's accusation that there was a discrepancy in counting votes.
Krishna Mohan Sharma, the former state secretary of National Students' Union of India (NSUI) in Rajasthan, the student wing of the Indian National Congress, shared the photos an indication that Nitish Kumar was behind the stolen EVMs. The caption reads, "EVM machines should be checked again. Where is he taking the EVM machine after stealing them? Does this mean Nitish Kumar go to jail? The Election Commission is a thief."
(Original text:"EVM की होगी जांच, नितीश जाएंगे जेल? पूछता है युवा, पूछता है बिहार, EVM चोरी करके कहां ले जा रहा है। मोदी आयोग चोर है"). An archive of the tweet is available here.
Many Twitter users were sharing posts with a similar claiming that claiming it showed how "Nitish Kumar was responsible for stealing EVM machines."
An archive of this tweet is available here.
The photos are being shared on Facebook with a similar caption. The caption on the post reads, 'Do you even know what's is happening in the country when you are sleeping?' with an insinuation that the EVM machines were stolen during the elections in Bihar which contributed to the discrepancy in votes.
(Original text: ये हो क्या रहा हैं..??? देश में आपको पता भी हैं या आप लोग सो ही रहे हों,चोर सरे आम चोरी कर रहे हैं।)
An archive of the post is available here.
BOOM ran a reverse image search on the images and found the original source of the images to be from a tweet from the account of the District Information Office in Raigad on October 20, 2019.
The tweet commends the election commission on how they are making sure that people are able to vote even in remote parts of Raigad district like Kalkarai with the polling officer carrying EVM machines to these areas.
(Original text in Marathi: 'कळकराई सारख्या दुर्गम भागात मतदान केंद्रावर पोहोचणारे कर्मचारी. आम्हाला तुमचा सार्थ अभिमान आहे. #vidhansabha2019)
The Maharashtra legislative assembly were held on October 21, 2019. We also found the same photos shared on Facebook pages about Maharashtra in October 2019, commending the Election Commission of India for their work.
BOOM has reached out to the Election Commission of India for an official comment and will update the story upon a response.
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