COVID, what? BJP, Congress fiddle with a ‘toolkit’

There is a new toolkit in town. And according to BJP leaders, this time all of the key conspirators are local.

The Congress has instructed its social media volunteers to follow the “toolkit” instructions to call the new mutant strain of COVID-19 the “Modi strain” or the “India strain”, Sambit Patra claimed. | Photo: Twitter/@ANI

There is a new toolkit threatening to tarnish the name of India. And according to BJP leaders, this time all of the key conspirators are local.

Three months after young activist Disha Ravi was charged with sedition over accusations she edited and circulated a document tweeted by Greta Thunberg relating to the farmer protests – a case that is still winding its way through the courts – the ruling BJP has accused the Congress of circulating a toolkit that is inimical to India’s interests.

Citing the “toolkit”, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Tuesday said the Congress’ decision to help the needy during the pandemic is “more of a public relations exercise with the help of friendly journalists and influencers than a soulful endeavour”.

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The Congress has instructed its social media volunteers to follow the “toolkit” instructions to call the new mutant strain of COVID-19 the “Modi strain” or the “India strain”, Patra claimed. He alleged that no stone had been left unturned to tarnish India’s image with the help of foreign journalists.

The Congress has trashed the document and called it “forgery” and “fraud”. The party has filed a complaint with the Delhi Police demanding an FIR against BJP leaders. It said it would also write to social media platforms for action against the leaders for “propagating” a ”forged and fabricated letter”.

The complaint, filed by AICC research department head Rajeev Gowda and social media department head Rohan Gupta, accused BJP leaders of “forging the letterhead of AICC Research Department and thereafter printing false and fabricated content on the same… with the intent to create communal disharmony and civil unrest in the country… escalating violence, fuelling hate and spreading fake news”.

Taking cue from Patra’s allegations, a number of BJP leaders, including ministers, have weighed in, attacking the Congress. BJP president JP Nadda said the Congress was a “master” at “dividing society and spewing venom”. “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.”

Smriti Irani claimed she “never imagined Congress was capable of such as low”. She tweeted: “My country, our country is at war with a virus… to singularly commercialise it as a political opportunity & deal in death; I never imagined Congress was capable of such a low.”

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said: “The exposed tool kit is a shocking revelation of the Congress party where Modi hate is now firmly becoming an India hate.”

The “toolkit” suggests the use of social media to track requests for help by people, contacting them, and asking them to tag the Indian Youth Congress handle and its leaders, apart from media professionals and other influencers. It also urges campaigners to use phrases like “Indian strain” or “Modi strain”, as well as push phrases like “Missing Amit Shah”, “Quarantined Jaishankar”, “Sidelined Rajnath Singh”, “Insensitive Nirmala Sitharaman”, etc.

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