The Congress on Sunday warned the BJP and a section of the media to desist from doctoring facts to “defame” the party and its leaders, inviting a sharp retort from the ruling party which said Congress leaders should apologise for making “baseless” allegations against the BJP and RSS or be ready to face action.
An FIR was registered in Jaipur on Saturday against a TV channel for airing a doctored video of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Former Union minister and BJP spokesperson Rajyavardhan Rathore was also booked for sharing “deliberately fabricated and distorted reportage” on Gandhi’s comments in Kerala.
Congress leader and head of media and publicity Pawan Khera said more such action will be taken against the BJP and its leaders for “propagating fake news” and sharing the doctored video in which Gandhi’s comments about SFI leaders, who allegedly ransacked his Wayanad office were “mischievously” used to suggest he was condoning or forgiving the killers of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur.
The purported video has since been taken off air and the channel has apologised after admitting its mistake, he said, but added that a lot of damage has already been done.
Khera warned that the Congress will take stern and a befitting legal action against all those indulging in fake news against its leadership. The Congress’ “decency should not be mistaken as its shackle”, he said.
The Congress leader alleged that former information and broadcasting minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, who hails from Rajasthan, shared the video “irresponsibly” and some others in the BJP followed suit.
Rathore hit back at Khera in a tweet in Hindi saying the Congress leaders who made “baseless allegations” against the RSS and the BJP will have to face the consequences.
“Rahul Gandhi and Congress leaders will now have to apologise, else they should be ready to face harsh legal action,” the BJP spokesperson said.
“The manner in which these people are making attempts at diverting investigation and divert public attention by levelling baseless allegations against the RSS and the BJP,they will have to face the consequences,” Rathore said in the tweet.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also shared a picture of the Udaipur accused on Twitter purportedly seen with BJP leaders, and said the “truth” of the BJP’s patriotism is visible in the photo.
Khera also replied to Rathore, sharing the pictures and asking, “What relations does the BJP have with these terrorists. Is it a coincidence or making use of them. The entire country is waiting. Answer them.” Noting that this particular episode acquires a very serious dimension as it involves communal harmony of the country, Khera said, “You cannot aggravate passions by doctoring videos and provoking people, provoking communities.” “This FIR was registered against the channel, against the MPs and the senior leaders of the BJP. Bigger action will follow. Because anybody who thinks that our decency is our shackle, he has sadly mistaken. It is our ornament and we are free to take that ornament off and take legal action. Gone are the days we continued to be decent because we have been watching the BJP, its IT cell,” he said.
Khera said the Congress will remind those in power of their ‘Raj Dharma’ and their constitutional oath.
Asked whether the FIR names Rathore too, he said it is against the channel and some others for now, and more names will be added soon.
In another tweet, Khera replied to Rathore sharing pictures of two terrorists who were nabbed in Kashmir Sunday, and one of whom was also allegedly linked to the BJP. “The strange thing is that these terrorists are also members of the BJP,” Khera alleged, asking who is their benefactor.