The ruling BJP has done what it does best, yet again—wondering what? Blaming the Congress for ruining India’s reputation globally. A few days ago, the BJP revealed what it called a “toolkit” by the Congress to harm Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre’s image over the handling of the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While BJP National President J P Nadda first talked about the Congress’s “Toolkit Models” in a tweet, the accusations were taken up by Union Minister Smriti Irani, BJP General Secretary B L Santhosh and Spokesperson Sambit Patra, with BJP leaders sharing a document seemingly printed on the letterhead of the “AICC (All India Congress Committee) Research Department”.
#Live | Watch: BJP’s @sambitswaraj produces, what he claims to be ‘evidence’ to back his claim that the alleged ‘toolkit’ was designed by Congress. He says it is authored by a Saumya Varma, who, as per the images he shared, works at the office of Congress MP MV Rajeev Gowda. pic.twitter.com/egUKe3hyr2
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) May 19, 2021
Sambit Patra, the National Spokesperson of BJP, tweeted, “Toolkits are not alien to the Congress and their ecosystem. In fact, a substantial part of their energy goes into making them. Here is a toolkit on the Central Vista…they make one Toolkit of the other every week and when exposed, they deny it.”
BJP President JP Nadda also tweeted and termed the Grand Old Party as a “master” at “dividing society and spewing venom”. He said, “India is seeing Congress’ antics, while the nation is fighting COVID-19. I would urge Congress to go beyond ‘Toolkit Models’ and do something constructive.”
The so-called toolkit goes on to suggest the use of social media to track requests for help by people on COVID, communicating with them, and asking them to tag the IYC (Indian Youth Congress) handle and its leaders, apart from media professionals and other influencers. It also advises social media volunteers to use the term “Modi strain” for the new variant of COVID originating in India, etc.
The document urges Congress workers and supporters to utilise the term “super spreader Kumbh”, tells them to avoid commenting on Eid gatherings, only respond to COVID SOS messages if a person tags the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) Twitter handle, use pictures of funerals and dead bodies, which is already used by International media, etc.
It further layout instructions that the new coronavirus mutant should be called “India strain” or “Modi strain” as “forgery” and “fraud”.
The Congress obviously has denied the allegations and a war of words has started between the two major political parties. Meanwhile, the Congress filed an FIR against the four BJP leaders with the Delhi Police Commissioner while accusing the Saffron Party of propagating a fake “toolkit”.
Read this @AltNews investigation. It proves a FORGED letterhead was used to make a FAKE “toolkit” which was amplified by jobless mantris! These BJP criminals then harassed my woman colleague
Why? To distract media from giving a voice to people’s suffering!https://t.co/GGGkgPLzIs
— Rajeev Gowda (@rajeevgowda) May 19, 2021
Rajeev Gowda, Chairman AICC Research Department, tweeted, “BJP is propagating a fake ‘toolkit’ on ‘COVID-19 mismanagement’ & attributing it to AICC Research Department. We are filing an FIR for forgery against @jpnadda & @sambitswaraj. When our country is devastated by COVID, instead of providing relief, BJP shamelessly concocts forgeries.”
An analysis by fact-checking and proofreading website Alt News has revealed that the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Research Department letterhead has been doctored within the toolkit document, raising questions about its authenticity.
As per Alt News, “An examination of the content of the document, meant to strategise a future course of action, reveals that it refers to events that have already taken place in the past. BJP till now has only shared screenshots of the alleged toolkit and has failed to produce the original — either the PDF version or the Microsoft Word version. Without the original document, BJP’s claims come across as inauthentic, especially because the ‘toolkit’ is made on a poor copy of the original letterhead used by the AICC’s research wing.”
Interestingly, this is not the first time the BJP has tried to blame a “toolkit” for tarnishing India’s and PM Modi’s image internationally. Most of us remember when the whole right-wing, including the Indian government, blamed Swedish Environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
The alleged toolkit contained a social media plan on farmers’ protest in India, later deleted by Greta, who uploaded a new toolkit. The whole toolkit controversy created a stir in India, from online trolling of so-called Environmental activist Greta Thunberg to filing an alleged FIR against her.
Believe it or not, it seems every time the Union Government fails to act on issues as it is supposed to be, a new toolkit takes centre stage. It looks like the whole point of this so-called toolkit is to divert the attention from how the government is failing Indian citizens who are gasping for oxygen, desperately trying to find one COVID bed for themselves or their loved ones.
We have reached a point where journalists reporting from the ground are termed as insensitive vultures, anti-nationals, who are selling themselves to harm the image of India. Meanwhile, the prime time anchors are being hailed for not asking the questions from the government for its incompetence in handling the deadly second wave of COVID.
When the entire country is fighting the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and lack of medical support, the two leading national political parties are busy in a blame game just to gain brownie points for themselves.