Sunday, July 14, 2024

Hyderabad Polls Scandal: An Exposé On State ECI’s X-Handles?! 

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The keen eyes of netizens and political analysts are questioning the integrity of the Hyderabad polls during the 2024 general elections. The recent online actions of the District Election Officer (DEO) of Hyderabad and the past online acts of the Chief Electoral Office (CEO) of Telangana make honest citizens raise critical questions of bias. As the controversy brews, citizens and netizens alike demand quick resolution of their doubts that question the impartiality and the sanctity of the electoral process in the state of Telangana.

So, who lies at the heart of the controversy? Well, the poll scandal involves the X handles of DEO Hyderabad and CEO Telangana. The infamous fake news peddler Mohammed Zubair or @zoo_bear is also inexplicably involved in this discourse. Let’s talk about the ringing alarms of potential bias in Nizam’s City of Lakes!

DEO Hyderabad and @zoo_bear Controversy

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The first controversy began when the DEO of Hyderabad tagged @zoo_bear in an official post on X. This handle is run by Mohammed Zubair, a notorious fake news peddler. Zubair’s notoriety stems from his manipulation of a national television debate involving BJP leader Nupur Sharma. By cutting and misrepresenting a section of the debate where Nurpur Sharma quoted a verified Hadith, Zubair incited communal riots across India. Despite the right wing’s efforts to expose his deliberate misrepresentation, the damage was already done. Currently, numerous fatwas have been issued against Sharma. She lives every day under the shadow of death and rape threats. Meanwhile, zoo-wala-bear roams freely, gets awards for communal harmony, and becomes the official fact-checker of a few INDI-alliance states.

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During the Hyderabad polls, Zubair raised unfounded concerns of intimidation by BJP candidate Madhavi Lata. The lady was verifying the identity of burqa-clad women at the polling booth. Why? Because the policewomen and the booth officials were too scared to check the same. The BJP candidate was requesting the women to help her ensure a clean election cycle. However, zoo-wala-bear, recipient of the communal harmony award by CM Stalin, raised a complaint on X tagging DEO Hyderabad on the issue. Thus, DEO filed a case against Madhavi Lata and tagged @zoo_bear in the response posted on the official handle.

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This tag was highly suspicious to all netizens. Political analyst Abhijit Iyer Mitrs noted how an extra-judicial person was tagged in an official response from DEO Hyderabad. He asked a barrage of questions criticizing the officials and demanded accountability for the same. As the backlash intensified, the unwarranted tag of @zoo_bear was removed after two days. However, by then the damage was done.

Deleting Evidence BY DEO Hyderabad and Damaged Trust in CEO Telangana

Now we come to the second controversy. Netizens and analysts continued to question the bias and potential malicious intent of the election officials. Consequently, the DEO of Hyderabad hid the original question posted by analyst Abhijit Iyer Mitra. Thereafter, the X handle began to hide replies where netizens questioned the tagging of Mohammed Zubair. These actions further eroded public trust in DEO Hyderabad’s discharge of duties.

All of this gave birth to the third controversy. The backlash intensified when netizens went digging into posts liked by the @CEO_Telangana handle from 2019 to 2020. This official handle had liked specific Islamist and radical posts.

Moreover, the handle liked sweeping statements made by radicals regarding the use of EVMs in 2019. The like seemed to imply that the ECI officials themselves opposed the EVM system. Please note, the post went as far as to suggest poll tampering in EVMs and displayed an anti-BJP bias. This revelation seems to suggest two things.

Firstly, the controller of the handle was probably influenced by hardcore Islamists who harbored political bias.

And secondly, the same controller of the handle seemingly displayed a deep distrust towards the current election system while simultaneously displaying political bias.

These discoveries have fuelled a fire raising concerns about potential election rigging and the lack of impartiality of ECI officials in the discharge of their duties.

Screengrab from X handle of CEO Telangana

Finally, the Chief Electoral Office of Telangana attempted damage control by deleting all previous tweets and likes on the account. They issued a generic statement: “We are investigating the cause behind this. @CEO_Telangana remains committed to conducting free and fair elections strictly in accordance with the law.They even gave a response to the liked post that badmouths EVM from 2019 in 2023, probably after the new official took charge of the handle. Unfortunately, this response does little to assuage fears of bias and potential tampering. Many netizens underscore the gravity of the situation and the critical need for transparency and impartiality in the electoral process.

Points to Ponder: An Ecosystem of Bias?

To add further context, it’s crucial to consider the broader ecosystem in which these events are occurring. These likes and tweets may highlight a pattern of bias and manipulation. Mohammed Zubair getting tagged in official posts is very concerning. It seems to suggest that he has sufficient influence in electoral matters of Hyderabad. Is this pointing to a deeper issue of political interference? Who knows! The fact that election officials were seen engaging with a figure known to color incidents with specific communal colors adds a layer of suspicion and demands a thorough investigation.

Can BJP's Madhavi Latha defeat AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency?
PC Money Control

This year Hyderabad polls were a scandal in making. Assaduddin Owaisi, who traces his ancestry to the communally violent Razakars, fought with a deeply Hindu BJP candidate Madhavi Lata. The Muslim-majority city’s election campaigning has exposed a troubling undercurrent of communal tensions. However, the responses by the DEO Hyderabad handle and the previous likes by CEO Temagana may hint at an ecosystem biased towards one candidate.

In Conclusion

Election officials are tasked with ensuring the integrity of the democratic process. When they display partiality and engage with dubious figures like Mohammed Zubair, the very foundation of democracy is at risk. Thus, Bharat hopes that CEO Telanaga can make the investigation into all incidents public. After all, they marr the ECI’s and the electoral process’ dignity and integrity. If found culpable of partiality, may the ECI hold officials accountable publicly. Additionally, Bharat hopes that the ECI puts stringent measures in place to restore public trust and ensure that future elections are conducted with the utmost fairness and transparency. Only then can the sanctity of the electoral process be preserved, safeguarding the democratic values that India holds dear.

In a democracy, the impartiality of election officials is paramount. The Hyderabad polls scandal serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences when this impartiality is compromised. It is a call to action for all stakeholders to vigilantly protect the integrity of the electoral process and ensure that democracy remains untainted by bias and manipulation.

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