Cong doesn’t hold back its punches against BJP’s social media barrage

Congress seems to be on the upfront and is now giving timely response to the BJP on social media. It all started with senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh taking over as the party’s General Secretary in-charge of communication.

On Thursday, Delhi Congress lodged a complaint about a “fake video” of Rahul Gandhi which attempted to establish that the former Congress President was refusing to perform Ganga Arti.

Commenting on the matter, Jairam Ramesh said, “Last night, a police complaint was filed in Delhi against a totally fake video on Rahul Gandhi. The offender deleted his social media post after it was exposed, but he will face the law for his atrocious deed. We will not allow such people to get away lightly.”

Delhi Congress has filed complaint against filmmaker Ashoke Pandit for spreading “fake and distorted news, incite, provoke the public and create enmity between groups”. The party said that the accused has committed offences that are punishable under the Indian Penal code, 1860 and other legal provisions.

“Janeudhaari Rahul Gandhi is refusing to perform aarti. The reasons are clear,” Ashoke Pandit wrote in his now-deleted tweet.

Delhi Congress alleged that the tweet was accompanied with a “maliciously distorted video clip” of Rahul Gandhi, wherein it was sought to portray that the former Congress president was refusing to partake in religious rituals being performed in Rajkot (Gujarat) while worshipping goddess Durga. “It must be pointed out that the video was created by morphing (through deliberately editing) an older video in which Rahul Gandhi was indeed offering prayers in direct contradiction to what was being portrayed by Ashoke Pandit.”

The Congress has appointed Supriya Shrinate to head all the Social and Digital media to counter any narrative against the party. Shrinate is a former journalist.

The Congress is fighting on two fronts, says party leaders, on one end with the BJP and on the other with the “so-called news channels”. Jairam Ramesh, referring to a news item, said, “Don’t take the Congress party for granted any more… This evening a Hindi news channel ran a mischievous graphic image in connection with PFI. This was a blatant attempt to tarnish Congress party’s reputation. Our team acted at once and the reference to us was corrected immediately.”

Recently, Congress MP Hibi Eden filed a police complaint accusing BJP leader Priti Gandhi of spreading fake and divisive news to disrupt Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Eden alleged that the BJP leader in a tweet shared a set of picture that sought to convey that former Congress president Rahul Gandhi is posing with an individual who had been accused of sloganeering “Pakistan Zindabad” in past.

Jairam Ramesh shared the copy of the Congress MP’s complaint on Twitter itself, saying that he had initiated legal action against the “online hate factory” of BJP leaders and their devotees and the Congress will not take such a case lightly.

He further stated: “The impression these pictures sought to convey was that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was posing with an individual who had been accused of sloganeering ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ on a previous occasion.”

Eden noted (in the complaint) that “the individuals in the photographs were two separate and distinct people”.

“The distortion was not an innocent one because it sought to falsely and maliciously suggest that former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is on a yatra to unite Indians, had demonstrated sympathy for individuals who supported Pakistan and approved their illegal sloganeering and was ultimately attempting to ‘break India’,” Eden alleged in his complaint.

The Congress leader further said that several users as well as fact-checking social media handles corrected Priti Gandhi and explained that the individuals in the photographs were two separate and distinct people. In fact, the BJP leader even deleted the tweet then “immediately uploaded another one to double down on her messaging making base and vulgar insinuations without the scantest regard for the individuals involved”.

“…it is clear that this malicious post was designed to (1) create a dangerously false impression in the minds of the viewers regarding the Congress leader’s approach towards Pakistan and individuals involved in illegal sloganeering in support of Pakistan; and (2) to foment social tensions in the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ rallies led by Rahul Gandhi,” the complaint said.

Eden sought that an urgent and immediate FIR be registered by under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

The Congress in July targeted BJP national president J.P. Nadda and demanded an appropriate apology from the party for sharing a “doctored video clip” of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress alleged that in the original video Rahul Gandhi was commenting on the SFI’s violence on his Wayanad office but it was “deliberately and mischievously doctored to establish as if it was a comment on the heinous murder of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur”.

The Congress said that it was immediately brought to the attention of all concerned that the reportage was “false and deliberately misleading”.

Jairam Ramesh had then sought apology from the BJP and had threatened to take appropriate legal action against the party and its leaders “who insist and persist in using the social media in such a blatantly irresponsible and criminal manner”.

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