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BJP moves EC over ‘fake news’

PANAJI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday filed a complaint with the Election Commission, and a criminal complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell of the Goa Police against unknown persons for propagating fake news against Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The alleged fake video, which went viral on Wednesday on the website www.primenews-goa.com, quoted Mr. Parrikar as saying, “These elections (the Panaji bypoll) are important for me, but if I lose, I can always shift to Delhi as Defence Minister.”

The complaint filed by Panaji BJP general secretary Pundalik Rautdessai said, “An attempt has been made by circulating a distorted and false news item on social media like Facebook, WhatsApp amongst others, to create falsehood, malign the image of our candidate Manohar Parrikar and to misguide the electorate of Panaji constituency.” The complaint said the false news is being circulated under the name of Prime News, Goa, with an unnamed press cutting.

Mr. Parrikar on Thursday described the video as “fake news”, and said this only showed the level of the frustration and desperation of his opponents.

He was speaking at a press conference held at the BJP headquarters to release his election manifesto. “There is no such meeting, no such statement. What are they quoting and trying to make some sort of news out of? The best part is that the news channel they are quoting has also lodged a criminal complaint in this regard for damaging its name,” the Chief Minister said.

Bypolls are scheduled in Panaji and Valpoi constituencies on August 23. In Panaji, Mr. Parrikar will take on AICC Secretary Girish Chodankar, and in Valpoi, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane of the BJP will face Roy Naik of the Congress.

“When I am meeting people directly, where is the question of such a meeting happening? People know that these are some frustrated minds doing this. People also know my victory is sure. The only question is what the margin will be,” Mr. Parrikar said.

Mr. Parrikar declined to comment on an article in the Renewal Novssorni Renevacao, a pastoral publication of the Goa and Daman Archdiocese, equating the NDA rule with the rise of Nazism in Germany.

When asked if the election campaign had taken a communal colour, Mr. Parrikar said, “Not at all.”

Mr. Parrikar’s election manifesto, released later, promises to streamline transport, provide continuous water supply, make Panaji congestion-free, and introduce biofuel-based public transport.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2020 8:12:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-moves-ec-over-fake-news/article19511825.ece

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