congress: Congress doesn’t hold back its punches against BJP’s social media barrage

Congress appears to be ahead of the curve and is now giving the BJP a timely response on social media. It all started when senior Congress President Jairam Ramesh took over as the party’s Secretary-General for Communications.

On Thursday, the Delhi Congress filed a complaint over a “fake video” of Rahul Gandhi attempting to establish that the former Congress President refused to perform Ganga Arti.

Commenting on the matter, Jairam Ramesh said: “A police complaint was lodged in Delhi last night against a totally fake video of Rahul Gandhi. The perpetrator deleted his social media post after it was exposed, but he is facing trial for his cruel act. We will not allow such people to get off lightly.”

The Delhi Congress has filed a complaint against filmmaker Ashoke Pandit for “spreading fake and distorted news, inciting, provoking the public and fomenting hostility between groups”. The party said the accused committed offenses punishable under the Indian Penal Code 1860 and other statutory provisions.

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

The Delhi Congress claimed that the tweet was accompanied by a “maliciously distorted video clip” of Rahul Gandhi intended to depict the former Congress President refusing to take part in religious rituals being performed in Rajkot (Gujarat) during he worshiped the goddess Durga. “It must be noted that the video was created by morphing (by intentional editing) an older video in which Rahul Gandhi was actually saying prayers that are in direct contradiction to what was portrayed by Ashoke Pandit.”

Congress has appointed Supriya Shrinate to head all social and digital media to counter any anti-Party narratives. Shrinate is a former journalist.

Congress is fighting on two fronts, party leaders say, with the BJP on the one hand and the “so-called news channels” on the other. Referring to one news item, Jairam Ramesh said: “Don’t take the Congress party for granted anymore… Tonight a Hindi news channel ran a mischievous graphic image linked to PFI. This was a blatant attempt to tarnish Congress and the party’s reputation. Our team acted immediately and the reference to us was corrected immediately.”

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

Eden claimed that in a tweet, the BJP leader shared a series of images intended to convey former Congress President Rahul Gandhi posing with a person accused of having spread slogans “Pakistan Zindabad” in the past.

Jairam Ramesh himself shared the copy of the congressman’s complaint on Twitter, saying he has taken legal action against the “online hate factory” of BJP leaders and their supporters and that Congress will not take such a case lightly.

He further explained: “The impression these images were trying to convey was that the Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, was posing with a person who had been accused of spreading ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ on a previous occasion.”

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

“The distortion was not innocent in that it falsely and maliciously intended to suggest that former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is on a yatra to unite the Indians, had shown sympathy for individuals who supported Pakistan and approved of their illegal sloganing and it ultimately attempted ‘Break India’,” Eden claimed in his complaint.

The congress leader further said that several fact-checking users and social media users corrected Priti Gandhi, stating that the people in the photos were two different and distinct people. In fact, the BJP leader even deleted the tweet and “immediately uploaded another one to double down on her messages, making basic and vulgar insinuations without the slightest regard for the people involved.”

“…it is clear that this malicious post was aimed at (1) creating a dangerously false impression in the minds of viewers as to the actions of the Congress Chair towards Pakistan and individuals involved in illegal slogans in support of Pakistan; and (2) fueling social tensions at the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ rallies led by Rahul Gandhi,” the complaint reads.

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

The July congress targeted BJP national president JP Nadda and demanded a proper apology from the party for sharing an “edited video clip” of congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Congress claimed that Rahul Gandhi commented on the SFI’s violence in his Wayanad office in the original video, but it was “deliberately and mischievously manipulated to appear as if it were a comment on the heinous murder of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur”.

Congress said all those involved were immediately made aware that the reporting was “false and intentionally misleading.”

Jairam Ramesh responded by apologizing to the BJP and threatening to take appropriate legal action against the party and its leaders “who insist and persist in using social media in such an obviously irresponsible and criminal way.”