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'Toolkit': How new coronavirus strain sparked controversy between BJP and Congress - all you need to know

The Delhi Police served notices to two Congress leaders in the 'COVID toolkit' case on May 25, asking them to join the probe into a complaint in the matter.

May 25, 2021 / 04:15 PM IST
BJP accused the Congress of creating a 'toolkit' that seeks to tarnish the image of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by calling the new strain of the novel coronavirus the

BJP accused the Congress of creating a 'toolkit' that seeks to tarnish the image of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by calling the new strain of the novel coronavirus the "India strain" or the "Modi strain".


The new coronavirus strain has created a controversy where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Opposition Congress party are accusing each other of defaming them. The saffron party had accused the Congress of creating a 'toolkit' that seeks to tarnish the image of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by calling the new strain of the novel coronavirus the "India strain" or the "Modi strain".

However, Congress denied the allegation and claimed that the BJP is propagating a fake 'toolkit' to defame it. The party said that its research team made a “note” on the Central Vista project for the party, which the BJP “forged” and used for propaganda.

Here are the key points you need to know in the ‘toolkit’ case:

> The controversy sparked with the BJP’s allegation that Congress wants to tarnish the image of the country and PM Modi by calling the new coronavirus strain the "India strain" or the "Modi strain".

Citing a purported Congress toolkit, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said according to the document, it is clear that 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".

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> In reply, Congress accused the BJP of propagating a "fake toolkit" to defame it. "BJP is propagating a fake 'toolkit' on 'COVID-19 mismanagement' and attributing it to AICC Research Department. We are filing an FIR for forgery against JP Nadda and Sambit Patra," Congress' research cell head Rajeev Gowda said on Twitter.

The party lodged a police complaint against the party's chief JP Nadda, Union minister Smriti Irani, and leaders BL Santosh and Sambit Patra on May 18 seeking to book them for "sharing and creating fake news".



On May 19, party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters that the document on COVID 'toolkit' is forged even though his party owned up to another paper pertaining to the central vista project.

> The Chhattisgarh unit of Congress students’ wing, NSUI, lodged an FIR in Raipur against former chief minister Raman Singh and Sambit Patra over the issue for allegedly "forging" the letterhead of AICC Research Department and printing "false and fabricated" content on May 19.

> The police asked Patra to appear before it in person or through video-conferencing at 4.00 pm on May 23 in connection with an FIR lodged against him in the case. However, he skipped it citing personal reasons.

> The Raipur city police recorded the statement of Raman Singh in the COVID ‘toolkit' case on May 24. After giving his statement, Singh told reporters that the FIR was a Congress conspiracy, adding that "police in Chhattisgarh was being governed by the Congress and not the law".

> The Delhi Police's Special Cell sent a notice to Twitter India on the day in connection with the probe into a complaint about the alleged 'COVID toolkit', asking it to share information based on which it had classified a related tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra as "manipulated media". It appears that Twitter has some information that is not known to the police. This information is relevant to the inquiry, said Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal.

Also read | 'Congress Toolkit' tweets by BJP leaders continue to be labelled as 'manipulated media'

> In the evening, two teams of Delhi Police's Special Cell raided the offices of Twitter India in Delhi and Gurgaon.

> After the raid, Congress alleged that the "cowardly raid" on the microblogging site's offices by the Delhi Police "exposes lame duck attempts" to hide a "fraudulent toolkit" by BJP leaders.

> Shiv Sena jumped into the BJP-Congress controversy on May 25 with its senior leader Sanjay Raut alleged that social media or 'toolkits' were used by the BJP to target opponents, adding that when it faced a backlash, it put pressure through various ways. Raut made the comments while talking to reporters in connection with the Delhi Police’s notice to Twitter India in the case.

> In the latest development, the Delhi Police served notices to two Congress leaders in the 'COVID toolkit' case on May 25, asking them to join the probe into a complaint in the matter, reported news agency PTI citing officials. A senior police officer confirmed that the notices were served to Congress social media head Rohan Gupta and party spokesperson MV Rajeev Gowda in connection with the probe.

> Meanwhile, Congress has demanded that Twitter affix manipulated media tag to tweets of several union ministers for allegedly spreading false and malicious propaganda against the party. Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wrote to Twitter's Lead for Legal, Policy and Trust and Safety Vijaya Gadde and its Deputy General Counsel and Vice President (Legal) Jim Baker, seeking stern action against 11 union ministers for allegedly spreading false and forged documents.

(With inputs from PTI)
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 25, 2021 04:15 pm

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