Viral Amritsar ‘exit poll’ graphic attributed to India Today is fake

By: Umme Kulsum
May 30 2024

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Viral Amritsar ‘exit poll’ graphic attributed to India Today is fake

Screenshots of a claim sharing the purported India Today exit poll prediction for the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

Details of such an exit poll are not available on any India Today platform, and the channel has clarified that the viral graphic is a fake.

Claim ID 5a0c78bf

What is the claim? 

An image of the results of a purported exit poll 'conducted by news channel India Today' for Lok Sabha elections in Punjab's Amritsar is circulating widely on social media. The graphic indicates the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is projected to win the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat with a 33 percent vote share, followed by the Indian National Congress at 28 percent, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at 25 percent, and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) at 10 percent.

Users on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook have shared the image, tagging BJP's Amritsar candidate Taranjit Singh Sandhu in their posts. These posts claim that the exit poll predicts Sandhu's victory in the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat. The image has gained significant traction on X, with one post receiving over 25,000 views.

Screenshot of claims made online. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

Amritsar goes to polls on June 1 in the last phase of the ongoing general elections. BJP's Sandhu is standing against Gurjeet Singh Aujla from Congress, AAP's Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal and Anil Joshi from SAD in Amritsar.

However, we found the viral graphic predicting a BJP in Amritsar to be fabricated.

What did we find?

We combed India Today's official website and social media accounts but found no such exit poll projections for the 2024 Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency. Their YouTube channel also did not show any video report on such projections.

Upon investigation, we found that the graphic template used in the viral image closely resembles the one used in the reports on the India Today - Axis My India Exit Poll for the 2022 Punjab Assembly election. In 2022, this exit poll had predicted 83 seats for the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP. However, the numbers in the viral image are different. 

We also noticed that India Today had also used the same template for exit poll predictions for various states during the 2022 Assembly elections, including Uttar Pradesh (archived here) and Uttarakhand (archived here) in March 2022.

However, there is no corresponding India Today exit poll prediction using the same template for the 2024 Amritsar Lok Sabha seat elections.

Comparison showing the 2022 India Today Exit Poll predictions and the viral image. (Source: India Today/X)

Rahul Kanwal, news director of sister channels India Today and Aaj Tak, shared the now-viral image and issued a clarification on X (archived here) on May 28, stating: "We realise that there's a lot of interest in the results of the @IndiaToday Axis My India exit poll. But please be certain that any 'poll' you see before 6:30 pm on June 1 is fake. It's good to have so much buzz around our poll, but we don't want that there be any confusion as a result. BEWARE FAKE POLLS. See you on June 1 at 5 pm (sic)."

According to the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India, exit polls cannot be broadcast or published before 6.30 pm on June 1 until the polling for all seven phases of the 2024 general elections concludes. An archived version of the Election Commission's X post giving out these directions can be found here.

Screenshot of an X post by the Election Commission of India. (Source: X/@ECISVEEP)

The verdict

The purported graphic showing India Today's exit poll predictions for the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency is fabricated. The news channel has also clarified that the graphic is inauthentic. Therefore, we have marked this claim as fake.

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