With less than 48 hours left for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, last minute campaigning is at its fervent pitch. Party advertising, on Sunday, was a bold splash across front pages of leading dailies in the state. The last mile seems to be an attack via communication apps, sharing screenshots from alleged correspondence between parties and their election consultancy agencies.
Case in point is the screenshot of an email sent to DMK’s Chief Minister face MK Stalin, purportedly from someone in I-PAC. I-PAC is managing thehr DMK’s election strategy in Tamil Nadu.
Following the viral screenshot, I-PAC put out a tweet clarifying that it was fake. “Disgusting to see a ruling political party @AIADMKOfficial circulating a fake email to support their false propaganda. Reeks of desperation,” they wrote.
A source from I-PAC also said the employee whose name has been used on the email was a part of the HR department and has nothing to do with campaign.
It begins with the line “Dear Mr Stalin, it is with deep regret that I am to state that we are on the verge of losing the TN battle.” The screenshot is a photo of an email that is opened on a computer screen. “Thanks to the speech of your Propaganda Secretary & MP Mr A Raja and the subsequent sequence of events that have put the DMK in an unfavorable state of affairs. The impact that the video of Mr A Raja's speech has made on social media, is now far beyond repair,” the email reads.
“Am sorry to say that our survey in the last two days indicates that women voters including a large chunk from your own party will vote against the DMK. PK was on a long call with me after he saw TN CM'S emotional break-down on TV, in one of his yatras earlier this evening,” it further adds. Signed by Anant Tiwari, this email concludes that all efforts for favourable poll outcomes have gone down the drain “because of such loose statements made by leaders.”
There’s also another viral photo of another alleged correspondence from Sunil Kanugolo of The Mind Share, AIADMK’s election strategy consultant, to AIADMK’s Chief Minister face Edappadi K Palaniswami. In both emails (photographs of it) the agencies claim that the “battle is lost despite best efforts” thus trying to sow the seeds of doubt among voters.
A portion from this screenshot reads, “We have tried everything but nothing has improved. I need to tell you that the ground has worsened after the campaigning of the BJP. We also tried email propaganda but it didn’t work becas BJP tried the same trick in West bengal. Tamil Nadu people are well aware of these gimmicks. Unfortunately our last weapon also failed miserably.”
This is not unlike the fake email of a poll survey showing West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee losing Nandigram, the constituency that she is contesting from. I-PAC, the agency that is managing Mamata’s election strategy in West Bengal took to Twitter to clarify that the viral image was fake.