Activists from India's Trinamool Congress (TMC) party ride on a motorcycle with a party flag during an election campaign rally for forthcoming state elections in Siliguri on April 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO /Diptendu DUTTA (AFP / Diptendu Dutta)

Fake survey falsely purports to project winners in West Bengal elections

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

An image has been shared repeatedly on Facebook and Instagram that purports to show an election survey conducted by a political consultancy group in India. The posts claim the "leaked" image shows the country’s ruling political party will gain seats in the 2021 legislative elections in West Bengal. The photo, however,  is “fake” according to the consultancy group, whose director's name is misspelled in the image.

The photo was shared March 31, 2021 on Facebook by a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

It purports to show a document that bears the logo of political consultancy group Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC).

English-language text overlaid on the image states: “PK’s internal survey leaked, Didi losing Nandigram, BJP sweeping 23/30.”

A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on April 5, 2021.

“PK” refers to Prashant Kishor, the Indian political strategist who co-founded I-PAC.

“Didi” means elder sister in Bangla language. It is how supporters popularly address Mamata Banerjee, the incumbent chief minister of West Bengal.

The post circulated online after voting kicked off in Nandigram town on March 27, 2021.

India’s ruling BJP political party has been seeking to expand its power in the eastern state, where Banerjee has ruled for one decade, AFP reported.

The photo was also shared alongside a similar claim here, here and here on Facebook, including by several BJP members here, here and here.

It was also shared and here on Instagram alongside a similar claim.

The claim is false, according to I-PAC. 

In response to the social media posts, the company posted this statement on its official Twitter on March 31, 2021.

It reads: “Facing imminent defeat, @BJP4Bengal has now gone down to the level of using FAKE surveys in the name of I-PAC to keep the morale of their workers up!! P.S: In I-PAC, no one uses desktops so at least be smart in your effort to create fake survey / reports!”

The text seen at the bottom right misspells the name of I-PAC director Pratik Jain as “Prateek Jain”.

Jain responded to the error in a Twitter post on March 31, 2021.

He wrote: “They could have also been smart enough to at least use the actual spelling of my name :P #FailedAttempt.”

A screenshot of the misleading post, with the misspelled name circled