The Congress and the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh on Friday were involved in a heated war of words after a video clip of a someone shouting “Pakistan Zindabad” during the Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) surfaced on the social media.
The BJY that is being led by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi was passing through Khargone district on Friday.
Khargone was in news earlier this year after communal riots were reported in April. The riot had led to the death of one person, while over 20 were injured. More than 200 arrests were made in connection with the incident.
The Congress called the video a doctored one, saying it surfaced on social media to tarnish the image of BJY. The party also warned of “legal action”.
One the other hand, the BJP maintained that the video clip was uploaded on the official Twitter handle of the Congress.
In the video, it could be seen that while Rahul Gandhi, his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra, were marching, along with hundreds of party leaders and supporters, a slogan of “Pakistan Zindabad” was heard.
Madhya Pradesh unit BJP president V.D. Sharma alleged that the video clip was from the official Twitter handle of the Congress.
Slamming Congress, Sharma said: “In Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ were raised in Khargone. It again exposed the mentality of the Congress to divide the country. It is being proved time and again that this is a ‘divide India journey’. Rahul Gandhi should apologise to the country for this act.”
In the video, the march was seen passing through a narrow stretch and the police personnel deployed in the security management were facing a tough time to handle the situation as many people were rushing to meet Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress, meanwhile, called it a conspiracy by the BJP to defame Rahul Gandhi.
“A video doctored by the dirty tricks department of the BJP is doing the rounds to discredit the highly successful Bharat Jodo Yatra. We are taking the necessary legal action immediately. We are prepared for such tactics, and there will be payback,” said Congress general secretary and communication in-charge, Jairam Ramesh.
Later, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also took cognisance of the matter, and said: “Slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ raised in ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, is it to unite India or unite those who divide India? India has been divided before too, is there an intention to divide India again? Strict action will be taken against those who raised slogans.”
Congress spokesperson Abbas Hafeez said: “It was BJP’s attempt to target Rahul Gandhi. If it is true that a person raised the slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ why did not the police arrest him? Police should have arrested the person immediately, but that did not happen… why? It also exposed the security provided to Rahul Gandhi and Bharat Jodo Yatra in Madhya Pradesh.”