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Old Video Of Man Alleging Vote Mismatch In Varanasi Shared As Recent

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The results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were announced on 04 June 2024. The BJP won 240 seats, becoming the single largest party. The BJP-led NDA coalition secured 293 seats and formed the government on 09 June 2024. 

Narendra Modi was sworn in as Prime Minister of India for the third consecutive term. In this context, a video (here, here, and here) showing a man claiming that the total number of votes polled was less than the total votes counted in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in Varanasi is being linked to Lok Sabha elections 2024 and widely shared across social media platforms. 

In the video, we can hear the man alleging that around 11 lakh votes were cast in the Varanasi constituency; however, the total tally came up to 12.87 lakhs after counting. 

He goes on to say that the difference was 1.87 lakhs and that PM Modi’s majority was 1.52 lakhs. He added that this happened in 373 other constituencies. Through this article, let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.

The archived versions of similar posts can be found here, here, and here.

Claim: In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, there is a discrepancy between the votes polled and the votes counted in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in Varanasi.

Fact: The same video went viral before the start of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, i.e., before 19 April 2024. This implies that the viral video mentioned the 2019 elections. The ECI has dismissed claims about discrepancies between the votes polled and counted for the Varanasi constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

According to the ECI, the total electorate in the 2019 Varanasi elections was 18,56,791. Out of these, 10,58,744 voted using EVMs. As per the ECI, the total number of registered voters in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency is 19,97,578 for the 2024 Lok Sabha general elections. 

According to the 2024 Lok Sabha election results published by the ECI, PM Modi, who contested from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, won the election with a margin of 1,52,513 votes. 

In this election, the total number of votes polled in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency was 11,30,143 of which 11,27,081 were EVM votes and 3,062 were postal ballot votes. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who contested from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, emerged victorious in the recently released results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Amid this backdrop, a viral post claims that more votes were counted than votes cast in the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. 

It is worth noting that the same video was online before the commencement of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, i.e., before 19 April 2024. This implies that the viral video mentioned the 2019 elections. 

A fact-check article published by Factly, fact-checking this post when it went viral in April 2024, can be found here.

When this video went viral in April 2024, on 07 April 2024, the Election Commission of India responded to one such post on X (Twitter) by refuting (archived link) the claim and calling it fake. 

Furthermore, in the post, the ECI clarified that the total electorate (voters) in the 2019 Varanasi elections was 18,56,791. Out of these, 10,58,744 voted using EVMs, and an additional 2,085 voters used postal ballots. 

The Election Commission also clarified (archived link) that it never issued any statement stating that in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a mismatch between total electors and votes polled in EVMs was found in 373 parliamentary constituencies.

False Claim 1: false claim is made in a video regarding mismatch of electors & votes polled in #EVM in VaranasiPC during #GE2019

Reality: claim is misleading& fake. Total Electors in VaranasiPC were 18,56,791. Total votes polled & counted in EVM-10,58,744 & postal votes-2085
1/3 https://t.co/RIonUYT4Ef

— Election Commission of India (@ECISVEEP) April 7, 2024

Additionally, the ECI has released detailed data on the number of electors and votes polled for each Parliamentary constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This information also confirms that the viral claim is incorrect. According to this data, the total number of voters in Varanasi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was 18,56,791 with 10,60,829 votes polled.

According to the 2024 Lok Sabha election results published by the ECI on their website, Prime Minister Modi, who contested from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, won the election with a margin of 1,52,513 votes. In this election, the total number of votes polled in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency was 11,30,143 of which 11,27,081 were EVM votes and 3,062 were cast by postal ballot.

According to the press note issued by the ECI on 06 June 2024, regarding voter turnout (voting percentage) in the 7th and final phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the total number of registered voters in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency is 19,97,578 while the total number of votes polled is 11,28,527 (excluding postal ballots).

We can observe a difference of 1,446 votes between the number of EVM votes polled as stated in the ECI press release dated 06 June 2024, and the number of EVM votes counted as per the election results published by the ECI.

Why is there a difference between the number of EVM votes polled and EVM votes counted?

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO Uttar Pradesh) responded on X (Twitter) (archived link) to a post highlighting the difference between the EVM votes recorded and the EVM votes counted in several parliamentary constituencies and explained why such differences occur.

According to this explanation, the difference between votes polled and votes counted can arise because certain polling stations’ votes are not counted as per the protocol issued by the Commission and outlined in various manuals and handbooks (e.g., Para 11.4 of the Handbook for Counting Agents). These polling stations fall into two categories:

Where the Presiding Officer mistakenly fails to clear the mock poll data from the control unit before starting the actual poll or fails to remove mock poll slips from the VVPAT before starting the actual poll.

Where the total votes polled in the control unit do not match the record of votes in Form 17-C prepared by the Presiding Officer, who records an incorrect number by mistake.

The votes from these two categories of polling stations are counted towards the end of the counting process only if the total votes polled in all such polling stations are equal to or greater than the margin between the first and second candidates. If the total is lower than the margin, then the votes are not counted at all, resulting in a difference between the total votes polled by EVMs and the votes counted.

The difference can arise between votes polled and votes counted because there are certain polling stations whose votes polled are not counted as per the extant protocol issued by the Commission and provided in various Manuals and Handbooks( e.g Para 11.4 of the Handbook for… https://t.co/FrfrGDX57g

— CEO UP #IVote4Sure (@ceoup) June 6, 2024

To learn more about the person featured in the viral video, we conducted a relevant search and found that the person in the video is Waman Meshram, the national president of the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF). 

It was learned that he protested with thousands of people against the usage of EVMs at the Election Commission of India office on 31 January 2024, alleging that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is misusing the EVMs.

To sum up, an old video is being falsely shared, claiming there is a discrepancy between the votes cast and the votes counted for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat in the recent 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

(This story was originally published by FACTLY, and republished by NDTV as part of the Shakti Collective)

 The results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were announced on 04 June 2024. The BJP won 240 seats, becoming the single largest party.    

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