New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday sought a report from Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) over the allegations put up by an RTI activist that the Maharashtra poll body hired a BJP IT Cell-linked firm for its social media promotions during the Assembly Elections in the state held in 2019.

Reacting to the allegations, Election Commission’s spokesperson, Sheyphali Sharan, in a tweet, said that a report has been sought from the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer regarding the matter.   

"Regarding tweet of Mr Gokhale @SaketGokhale, Commission has sought a detailed factual report in this matter from CEO Maharashtra with respect to the alleged locale of the incidence immediately," Sharan tweeted.

(Official Twitter Handle of Sheyphali Sharan)

The Election Commission’s response came after an RTI activist, Saket Gokhale, in a series of tweets, alleged that that the firm hired by the Election Commission for its social media promotions during the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly Elections was owned by a BJP leader and was also hired by the BJP.  

In his tweet, RTI activist, Saket Gokhale pointed out that the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer posted the address of the social media advertisements as ‘202 Pressman House, Vile Parle, Mumbai’, and claimed that the address was of Signpost India, which is a government-empanelled agency and also has close ties with former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.

He also claimed that the address was also used by a digital agency called Social Central which is owned by the national convener of IT and social media for BYJM, Devang Dave.  

"The address 202 Pressman House was also used by a digital agency called Social Central. This agency is owned by Devang Dave who is the national convener of IT and social media for BJP's Youth Wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM)," Gokhale said in his tweets.

Saket Gokhale in another tweet asked, "Why was the social media of the Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra, being handled by a member of the BJP IT Cell?"

(Official Twitter Handle of Saket Gokhale)

Gokhale even shared the list of clients of Social Central, posted on its website, which included several government entities, BJP and Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer Maharashtra.  

Responding to Saket Gokhale’s allegations, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant also demanded an inquiry into the matter.

(Official Twitter Handle of Sachin Sawant)

He tweeted, "We demand an inquiry into this serious issue by an independent Election Commission panel. The EC is supposed to work independently. Here a company of a national office bearer of the BJP youth wing was instrumental in handling social media of CEO Maharashtra. What about EC data? Why was the firm's background not checked?". 

Posted By: Talib Khan