Video doesn’t show voter being assaulted in Uttar Pradesh for not voting for BJP

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
May 16 2024

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Video doesn’t show voter being assaulted in Uttar Pradesh for not voting for BJP

Screenshots of the viral claim that this video from Kannauj shows people being assaulted for not voting for the BJP. (Source: Instagram/YouTube/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The viral video, originating from Andhra Pradesh, depicts a YSR Congress MLA slapping a voter during the elections held on May 13.

Claim ID 766836d9

What is the claim?

During the ongoing Indian general election, a video depicting a scuffle has been widely circulated on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. The video claims that a voter in Kannauj was attacked for not voting for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The viral clip, lasting nine seconds, shows a man in white attire slapping another man in an orange t-shirt, who retaliates immediately. The altercation escalates as more individuals join in while others attempt to intervene and defuse the situation. Kannauj, a Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, went to the polls on May 13, during the fourth phase of the parliamentary elections.

The video was shared on YouTube with Hindi captions that translated to: "Remove BJP, save the Constitution, see if they don't vote for BJP they are being beaten." An archived version of the YouTube video is available here. 

Screenshots of the YouTube video. (Source: YouTube/ Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

On Instagram, the video featured overlaid Hindi text translating to: "This is how people are paying the consequences of not voting for BJP." The location of the incident was labeled as "Lok Sabha Kannauj" at the bottom of the video, which garnered approximately 28,000 likes.

Archived versions of the viral posts can be seen here and here.

Screenshot of the Instagram post. (Source: Instagram/ Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video does not originate from Uttar Pradesh. It actually depicts an incident in Guntur, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where a YSR Congress Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) slapped a voter during the polling on May 13.

What we found

We observed that the board behind the individuals seen in the video carried text in Telugu, a language unlikely to be displayed prominently in Uttar Pradesh—a primarily Hindi-speaking state in northern India.

A reverse image search led us to a news segment by India Today titled "Viral: MLA slaps voter, he retaliates in Andhra polling booth drama," dated May 13, 2024, featuring the same widely circulated video. According to the report, the incident occurred at a polling booth in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, on May 13, during the elections for both the Assembly and Lok Sabha seats.

Screenshot from the India Today report. (Source: India Today/ Screenshot)

India Today reported that Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) legislator Siva Kumar slapped a man who reportedly objected to him trying to jump the queue and cast his vote. In retaliation, the man slapped the MLA from Tenali in Guntur. Subsequently, Kumar and his supporters assaulted the man while others at the polling booth attempted to intervene.

CNBC-TV18 (archived herealso shared the video, referring to the incident as an attack by a YSRCP MLA on a voter in Tenali, Guntur.

Screenshot of the video posted on CNBC-TV18's official YouTube channel. (Source: YouTube/ Screenshot)

NDTV identified the man assaulted by YSRCP MLA A Sivakumar as Gottumukkala Sudhakar. Recounting his experience to the media, Sudhakar claimed that he and other voters were standing in line when the MLA and his family members entered the polling booth.

Sudhakar reportedly stated, "Everyone should stand in queue and vote. No one enjoys special privileges. So, I asked his followers to join the queue. They must have told him when he came out after voting. He came to me and asked me, 'Who are you to question? How dare you?' And then he slapped me."

The Hindu reported on May 13 that the Election Commission of India (ECI) had initiated a thorough investigation into the alleged attack by YSRCP MLA Sivakumar. Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Kumar Meena ordered a detailed probe, noting the availability of live webcasting footage from the polling station.

The Guntur Superintendent of Police was instructed to file a case against the assailants, including the MLA and others involved, according to The Hindu report.

The verdict

The video, which shows a YSR Congress MLA slapping a voter during the May 13 polling in Andhra Pradesh, has been shared with false context. It is being used to claim that the voter was assaulted for not voting for the BJP during the elections in Kannauj. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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