A viral clip that used a Telugu news channel’s logo claimed that the Congress candidate was joining the TRS.

Cheruku Srinivas Reddy with folded palms along with other senior Congress leaders while campaigning in DubbakaCourtesy: P Anil Kumar
news Politics Tuesday, November 03, 2020 - 15:06

On Tuesday, as polling booths opened up their doors to voters in Telangana’s Dubbaka constituency for an Assembly bye-poll, fake news that went viral on social media created quite a controversy. In the video clip that went viral, TV9’s logo was used, with the video claiming that the Congress candidate had joined hands with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). Immediately, Congress leaders released videos and filed complaints against the viral clip. It was only in October that Cheruku Srinivas Reddy defected from the TRS to join the Congress.

As soon as the video went viral, the Congress candidate released a video appealing to voters to not believe in rumours. Cheruku Srinivas Reddy also filed a complaint with the Siddipet police. Claiming that the messages are being circulated by his rival candidates, the Congress candidate said, “On WhatsApp and social media, fake news is being circulated about me. This has been done by (BJP candidate) Raghunandan Rao and (TRS leader) Harish Rao. They are scared about losing in the elections and hence resorting to such means. Request people not to believe in these rumours. I am with the Congress and there is no question that I will return to the TRS. They should be ashamed to continue in politics.”

The Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) approached the state’s Director General of Police (DGP) Mahender Reddy and submitted a letter demanding action against those responsible. The letter was submitted by senior leaders Marri Shashidhar Reddy and N Uttam Kumar Reddy. The letter mentions that, “the contents of the video are false and intended to damage the prospects of the Congress party in the Dubbaka bye-election.”

The letter goes on to mention that the Congress candidate was not even in Hyderabad when a meeting is claimed to have taken place. The letter also stated that, “Cheruku Srinivas Reddy, son of Cheruku Muthyam Reddy, is a sincere, committed and ethical leader who has categorically said that he will be in Congress for the rest of his life.”

The TPCC has also requested for culprits to be arrested before the end of polling day so that justice would be better served. TPCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy condemned the fake news and said, “Rival politicians are worried about the Congress candidate’s victory and hence decided to circulate a fake video of the Congress Candidate. Request all Congress cadres, supporters and voters to not believe in this fake news.”

Meanwhile, TV9 has also lodged a complaint with the Central Crime Station (CCS) in Hyderabad against the fake clip made using the logo of the news channel. The media outlet also issued statements reinforcing that the clip being circulated with its logo, was fake. 

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