The video was recorded in West Bengal in February 2022 and has no connection with the 2022 Gujarat Assembly Elections.
Voting for the Gujarat Assembly Elections has started, and polling was conducted for the first phase on December 1, 2022. 89 seats in Saurashtra and south Gujarat went to the polls in the first phase registering a turnout of 60.2 percent. Voting for the remaining 93 seats is being held on December 5, and the results will be announced on December 8. The Assembly Elections of Gujarat is a much-discussed and debated topic not only in the state but in the entire country. Social media is rife with posts involving various photos and videos in terms of the Gujarat Elections. One Twitter handle posted a video that purported to show ballots being cast illegally in Surat's Varachha area, implying that this had happened during the ongoing 2022 Gujarat Assembly elections. In the video, a man is seen standing near an electronic voting machine (EVM), allegedly stopping voters and casting votes on their behalf. This video was widely shared on social media following the Gujarat Elections.
People in the video spoke in Bangla, which gave us the preliminary idea that there is a high chance that the video was recorded in West Bengal, not in Gujarat.
After conducting a reverse image search with one of the keyframes taken from the viral video, we found that the same video was published on YouTube as part of a news video report by a regional news channel of West Bengal, Aarohi News, on February 27, 2022. The video mentions (Translated from Bangla) that this is from booth number 108 in the Lakeview School of Ward 33 in South Dum Dum of West Bengal.
The reverse image search also led us to another video news report on the YouTube channel, TV9BanglaLive, which states that the visuals were recorded during the 2022 West Bengal Municipal Elections. The video mentions the headline in Bangla that a polling agent was illegally casting votes in the incident.
We also found that the same video was uploaded to the official Facebook page of CPIM West Bengal on February 27. The caption (Translated from Bangla) states that the video is from booth number 108 of South Dum Dum.
According to a Financial Express report, polling for West Bengal Municipal Elections was indeed held on February 27, 2022. The report stated that the voting was conducted for 2,171 wards of the 108 municipalities in West Bengal and decided the fate of over 8,160 candidates.
The Official Twitter handle of BJP West Bengal also posted a video criticizing TMC about the alleged rigging in the Municipal Elections. “TMC forces pressing the button before going to press the voting button. Stop the farce in the name of election! Democracy today is ashamed, looted by TMC supporters!” said the Twitter post. Hence it confirms that it is an old video and not related to the Gujarat Elections.
We found that the video is from West Bengal and was recorded at a polling booth station in South Dumdum during the municipal elections held in the state earlier in February. So, the claim that the video was recorded in the Varachha area at Surat and has connections with the ongoing Gujarat Assembly Elections is false.