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UPPL Files Plaint Against Congress Over Photo Of Suspended Member Sleeping With Money

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GUWAHATI, March 28: BJP ally United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against Congress’ Kerala unit and its media platform INC TV for allegedly spreading false news over the viral photo of its one suspended member sleeping with currency notes.

A viral picture purportedly of a suspended UPPL member sleeping with currency notes triggered a controversy in Assam on Wednesday. The opposition grabbed the opportunity and slammed the BJP-led alliance, saying the ruling bloc is “wallowing in the quagmire of corruption”.

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UPPL filed two identical complaints — one against Kerala Congress with the Election Commission of India and the other against INC TV with the Chief Electoral Officer of Assam — and referred to the posts on X of the two entities.

“The tweet in question falsely claimed that ‘Assam BJP’s alliance partner UPPL led by BTR’s Pramod Boro was found sleeping on stacks of Rs 500 currency notes’. Such misinformation has the potential to manipulate public opinion, deceive voters and disrupt the integrity of the electoral process,” UPPL chief Pramod Boro said in the complaint.

He claimed that the news in question is “absolutely false, fabricated and manufactured”, which is circulated with the intent to “malign the image” of the president of the UPPL and the party as well.

“The dissemination of such fake news not only violates the ethical standards of journalism but also undermines the fundamental principles of democracy,” said Boro, the chief executive member of Bodoland Territorial Council.

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He appealed to the Election Commission to investigate the matter promptly and take necessary actions to address the spread of the “fake news” by Kerala Congress and INC TV.

“It is imperative to uphold the principles of free and fair elections and prevent the dissemination of false information that could influence electoral outcomes. Safeguarding the truth and ensuring transparency in the electoral process are essential for the credibility of our democratic system,” Boro said.

He also urged the Election Department of Assam to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter to ascertain the extent of the misinformation spread by Kerala Congress and INC TV, and to take necessary steps to mitigate its impact on the upcoming elections.

Sharing screenshots of the posts of Kerala Congress and INC TV, Boro said his name was mentioned in those without verification.

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In a post on X, Boro said, “In its penchant to spread lies and fake news, Congress has stooped so low that they have become a fake news factory and will malign anyone. The people will not be misled by their fake news and false promises and will give them a fitting reply. Congress will be zero in Assam this time.”

“In these screenshots, CONgress and @RahulGandhi’s Fake News Factory have used my name without even verifying. Have lodged official complaint with Election Commission of Assam and request @ECISVEEP to take strict action against Congress and their fake news social media pages,” he added.

Boro said an FIR will also be lodged with Kokrajhar police station over the matter.

In the image, Benjamin Basumatary, identified in the photograph as a Village Council Development Committee (VCDC) member of UPPL, is seen sleeping on a bed wearing only a traditional towel with a heap of Rs 500 denomination notes.

“The photo that has gone viral is five years old. It has been made viral due to political conspiracy. We will find out who has done this,” Basumatary told reporters when asked about the picture.

He admitted that the photograph was authentic, but claimed that some people had blackmailed him at that time after he was clicked in that pose.

“Five years ago, I had taken a loan of Rs 3 lakh for some work from my sister. That particular night, some of us were having a party and my partner clicked the photo with the money I had borrowed in a fun moment,” he added.

The UPPL sought to distance itself from the image, stating that Basumatary has been suspended and removed from the VCDC post.

Boro on Wednesday claimed that the Harisingha Block Committee of the party had recommended disciplinary action against Basumatary on January 5 this year and accordingly, he was suspended on January 10 over the photograph.

“Additionally, the BTC Government suspended and removed him from the post of VCDC Chairman on 10th February, 2024. I urge all media outlets and social media users to refrain from linking Mr Basumatry with UPPL,” he said in a post on X.

Boro further said that Basumatary’s actions are solely his own responsibility and the party is not accountable for any of his personal acts. (PTI)

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