Election Commission’s Facebook page admin is related to BJP
The person handling the Facebook page of the Election Commission was the national convener of the IT cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Mumbai: A person belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha is the owner of the company that handled the Facebook page of the Election Commission of India on social media during the Maharashtra assembly elections in 2019. When this matter came to light, former Maharashtra Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chauhan called it a blow to the foundation of democracy. He said that the Election Commission is expected to act as an impartial body but that did not happen. He has demanded an inquiry into the case.
To create awareness about the election, the Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra launched a page on Facebook called Chief Electoral Officer Maharashtra. On this page, a lot of advertisements related to the Maharashtra assembly elections were given. The address recorded on this page is ‘202 Press Man House, Vile Parle, Mumbai’. The Fandavis government outsourced the government’s advertising work to an advertising company called Outsourcing.
The company’s relationship with the BJP, handling the Election Commission’s Facebook page, is a blow to the foundation of democracy: Prithviraj Chavan
This address is also used by a digital agency called Social Central. The owner of the company is the national coordinator for IT and social media in the BJP’s youth wing (BJYM). A list of customers of his company is available on the company’s website. He says the company is the founder of ‘Fearless Indian’, ‘Support of Narendra Modi’ and other pages.
It is shocking that Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer had hired an advertising agency owned by a member of BJYM to operate its social media page during 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections. I have asked the Chief Election Commissioner for a thorough investigation in this matter. pic.twitter.com/1dhwaNMIb2
— Prithviraj Chavan (@prithvrj) July 24, 2020
Article 324 of Constitution
Prithviraj Chavan said that the Election Commission had the option to direct and control elections as per Article 324 of the Constitution. It is the duty of the Election Commission to conduct elections in a fair and safe environment. However, the incident shows that the (then) Maharashtra Election Commission has failed in its responsibility. Chavan got astonished to find that the Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra hired an advertising agency owned by a BJYM member to run its social media page during the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections. He sent the country’s Chief Election Commissioner a letter and appealed for a complete and impartial inquiry into the matter.
Meanwhile, Election Commission spokesperson Shefali Sharan tweeted in response to a question by RTI activist Sakit Gokhale that he directed the Maharashtra Election Commission to submit a report with complete information in this regard.
It is beyond SHOCKING that the Election Commission chose a BJP IT cell guy & his agency to handle their social media for Maharashtra elections.
ECI is supposed to be monitoring social media of parties during election.
Here, they *literally* worked with the ruling party
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) July 23, 2020
Skate Gokhale has tweeted leveled a serious allegation on the State Election Commission. In the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections, BJP’s services were provided by the Election Commission to run its social media account. Gokhale claimed that Sign Post India, a close relative of BJP leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fandavis, had the same address used by a digital agency called Social Central. The agency is owned by the national coordinator of the youth wing of the BJP.
The Election Commission of India, however, said on Thursday that it has asked Maharashtra’s chief election officer to submit a report in connection with allegations that a firm linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT cell was hired for social media campaign during the Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2019.