The electoral process in India has never come under so much scrutiny as much as its credibility was tested post assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
Key institutions such as the Election Commission, media and judiciary all were criticised as reports of EVMs malfunctioning poured in. The judiciary was criticised after the Supreme Court rejected the Congress plea for mandatory counting of 25% of VVPAT papers in Gujarat. Many were seen questioning the need to install VVPAT machines in the absence of the EC’s interest to use the paper trails to match with the number of votes polled in EVMs.
Some members of and news channels were targetted for allegedly broadcasting what was widely alleged by the non-BJP supporters as a fixed match. Just when the social media discourse and TV debates were being dominated by the lack of credibility surrounding key institutions of democracy in India, CNBC Awaaz, tweets on vote count in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh went viral.
CNBC Awaaz, a Hindi business channel, which is a part of the Mukesh Ambani-owned News18 group, posted two tweets on how BJP was on course to secure majority in Himachal. As for Gujarat, its tweet said that the channel had begun receiving trends from all seats in Gujarat.
The tweets left social media users perplexed particularly because the counting is scheduled to start on Monday. Many users took to Twitter to state that the tweets posted by CNBC conclusively proved that a section of the Indian media was colluding to favour the ruling BJP.
Faced with social media outcry, the channel issued a clarification and apologised for the error. It said, ” Two tweets were put on by mistake earlier today regarding election results. We were testing the back end and the content got tweeted. Sincere apologies. Watch counting #LIVE on 18th @CNBC_Awaaz.”
— CNBC-AWAAZ (@CNBC_Awaaz) December 15, 2017