2019 video of alleged ‘voter fraud’ by Indian Army personnel shared amid 2024 Lok Sabha polls

By: Rajini KG
May 8 2024

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2019 video of alleged ‘voter fraud’ by Indian Army personnel shared amid 2024 Lok Sabha polls

Screenshot of the viral video circulating online. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

The video first surfaced online in 2019. The Indian Army had issued a statement back then, alleging the clip was shared to ‘defame’ the forces.

Claim ID bf4b35d8

What’s the claim?

Following the conclusion of the third phase of polling for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on May 7, a video circulated online showing individuals questioning army personnel in front of an Indian Army vehicle. The video features a man in a white shirt alleging that the army officials in the video were canvassing for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a polling booth.

The man claims they urged people to vote for the BJP by pressing the number one button on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The man also accuses the officials of casting fraudulent votes across different constituencies.

A user shared the video with the caption, “BIG BREAKING Army is being used by the BJP to cast fake votes. INDIAN ARMY has been assigned to do ILLEGAL & FRAUDULENT work for the BJP. Caught RED handed inside the Election Booths to influence voters for FAKE Votes to the BJP.”

Although the post has since been deleted, it garnered over 233,700 views and 7,000 likes. Other users also shared the video; an archived version can be found here.

Screenshot of the viral video circulating online. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the claim is misleading. The video predates the 2024 Lok Sabha election and was recorded in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, on April 29, 2019.

Here are the facts

A reverse image search revealed that the viral video originated in 2019. The same video was posted on the YouTube channel of IBC24, a news outlet covering the central Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, on May 3, 2019 (archived here). The caption reads, “Jabalpur Election: Controversy over voting of soldiers. Allegation of misbehavior with soldiers in the viral video.”

The video report suggests that some individuals accused Indian Army personnel of casting fraudulent votes. In response, the Indian Army issued a statement claiming that the video was shared with the intent to defame the force. They requested the Jabalpur Superintendent of Police to file a First Information Report (FIR) and take action against those featured in the video and those who circulated it.

News agency ANI posted a copy of the Indian Army letter on its X (formerly Twitter) account (archived here) on May 1, 2019. The letter stated that on April 29, 2019, soldiers and their spouses from the Grenadiers Regimental Centre went to cast their votes at Booth No 146, Swamy Vivekananda Higher Secondary School, Katanga in Jabalpur, during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. At the booth, some 'miscreants' allegedly snatched the voter IDs of the soldiers, accused them of casting fraudulent votes, and obstructed them from voting. The letter added that the video of the incident was shared online to defame the Indian Army and its soldiers and urged the Jabalpur SP to take action.

The Times of India (TOI) reported that many senior army officers dismissed the allegation when the video went viral. The report states that the army complaint mentions that the Supreme Court and Election Commission of India have given rights to soldiers to cast their votes as general voters, where soldiers and their family can cast their votes at the place of posting or Service voters, where they can vote from their respective constituencies. SP Nimish Agrawal was leading the investigation, according to the newspaper.

While we could not independently verify the current status of this investigation as calls to the concerned police station went unanswered, a source from the Defence Ministry confirmed to Logically Facts that the video is from 2019.

The verdict

A video from the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has been shared with the misleading claim that Indian Army personnel were accused of voter fraud. The video is not related to the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha election. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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