Fact Check: Viral image of gold coin distribution by BJP candidate in Munugode is FALSE
The image was shared on Twitter with the caption “BJP’s candidate in Munugodu K. Rajgopal Reddy is now distributing gold coins to common voters for upcoming by-poll.
An image of a small gold coin along with the picture of Indian Prime Minister నరేంద్ర Modi is going viral with a claim that the BJP candidate contesting in Munugode bypoll, Rajgopal Reddy is distributing them to voters in the constituency.
The image was shared on Twitter with the caption "BJP's candidate in Munugodu K. Rajgopal Reddy is now distributing gold coins to common voters for upcoming by-poll. And a photo of Modi is there."
This image was carried by local news websites also.
The claim is FALSE. The image shared has been online since April 2021 and is not from the recent Munugode election campaign.
When we searched for the viral image using Google reverse image search, we found similar images of gold coins shared by a senior journalist in Tamil Nadu during the Puducherry assembly election.
His tweet states: "Flying squad seized 149 gold coins worth Rs 5 lakh & cash worth Rs 90500, allegedly being distributed to voters near Thirunallar in Karaikal district. #Puducherry CEO Shurbir Singh says in a press meet that he received info that it was for #BJP votes "
Taking this as a cue, we searched using the keywords "Gold coins in Puducherry assembly elections 2021", and found several news reports which published the viral image on April 5, 2021. All the reports carried the viral image showing a gold coin along with PM Modi's picture inside a plastic cover.
According to timesofindia.com, former agriculture minister and Congress leader R Kamalakannan accused BJP candidate in Thirunallar constituency, Karaikal district,
S. Rajasekaran, of distributing gold coins with the photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to female voters and Rs 2000 to male voters. Kamalakannan pointed out that a flying squad seized 149 gold coins and Rs 90,500 concealed in the tank covers of two motorcycles.
New Indian Express also reported that a flying squad received information that a group was distributing gold coins to voters in Surakkudi. When the team arrived there around 9.30 pm, a group fled the spot, leaving behind two of their motorcycles. The squad impounded the vehicles and found 149 gold coins in transparent plastic covers left behind by the suspects.
The seized coins are estimated to be worth Rs 5 lakh in value. The gang had also left behind Rs 90,500 in cash on the spot. The flying squad handed over the cash and gold coins to senior election officials, who handed them over to the treasury.
This incident was also reported by other news websites.
Hence, the viral image is an old one and is not from the recent Munugode elections. The claim is FALSE.