All India Congress Committee (AICC) Research Department Chairman Rajeev Gowda has filed a complaint against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders JP Nadda, Smriti Irani, Sambit Patra and others for "forging" AICCC letterhead and printing "false and fabricated content".
"Through the present complaint, we seek to register an FIR against Mr. J.P Nadda - President, BJP; Mr. Sambit Patra- National Spokesperson, BJP; Mrs. Smriti Irani - Union Minister, Gol; Mr. BL Santosh - General Secretary, BJP & other such persons for forging the letterhead of AICC Research Department and thereafter printing false and fabricated content on the same, in order to share the forged/ BJP manufactured document from their verified Twitter handles and other social media platforms, with the intent to create communal disharmony and civil unrest in the country among individuals, escalating violence, fueling hate and spreading fake news," Rajeev Gowda's letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner read.
"The hidden agenda of this team of fraudsters was to divert the attention from the Modi Government’s mammoth failure in providing necessary aid to the people of India, amidst the current pandemic," it added.
Earlier in the day, citing a purported 'toolkit', BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said according to the document, it is clear that the Congress extending help to the needy during the pandemic is "more of a public relations exercise with the help of friendly journalists and influencers than a soulful endeavour".
Patra alleged that the 'toolkit' has instructions for social media volenteers of Congress to call the new COVID-19 mutant as "Indian strain" or "Modi strain" againt the World Health Organization (WHO)'s instructions.
"Today, there is a toolkit going rounds in media by Congress on COVID-19 pandemic. Through this toolkit, the country can see that how Congress is trying to strengthen its political ambitions when the country is in the midst of a health crisis. Congress is trying to defame the government of India, and thousands of people who are doing good work," Patra said.
He said there is a column in the 'toolkit' on "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image", and under that there are instructions to "destroy his image and erode his popularity".
Patra further alleged that the toolkit has instructions to use "international media coverage by foreign correspondent in India that can be tailored to exclusively focus on Modi and his mismanagement", and "liaison with these foreign journalists and Indian oped writers in foreign publications and brief them on talking points." He said it also has instructions to "use dramatic pictures of funerals and dead bodies which is already being done by foreign media" and facilitate journalist by "local cadre in various districts to get the images".
The 'toolkit' was shared by several BJP leaders and #CongressToolkitExposed was the top trend on Twitter. However, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate at a virtual press conference claimed that there is no such document as shown by the BJP spokesperson.
The party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted, "Soon after the BJP forged the 'fake toolkit', all its 'fake devotees' and 'friends in the media' came out to set the agenda."
(With input from agencies)