On November 27, Amit Malviya, the person in charge of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national Information & Technology cell, tweeted a video of Manmohan Singh in which the former prime minister can be heard saying, “The governments of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were very good.” This clip where Singh of the Congress seems to appreciate the BJP state governments was captioned as, “Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh contradicted Rahul Gandhi, says governments of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh were ‘very good’… Waters down everything Congress President has been saying over the last few days!”
Malviya’s tweet comes at the backdrop of Rahul Gandhi’s speeches in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where the Congress chief criticised the BJP government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The identical video was also circulated by Priti Gandhi, who is in charge of social media for the BJP Mahila Morcha.
As it turns out, Malviya and Gandhi shared a mischievously clipped video of the former prime minister’s speech made on November 26. Singh was a panelist in a discussion organised for the book release function of former Union Minister Manish Tewari’s new book Fables of Fractured Times. During the discussion, journalist and anchor Rajdeep Sardesai posed a question to the former prime minister about maintaining dignity and decorum at a time of polarised election propaganda.
Responding to Sardesai, Singh asserted the need for Prime Minister Modi to maintain a certain restraint on the use of language when he visits states that are ruled by parties other than the BJP. Singh said that when the United Progressive Alliance was in power, he maintained cordial relationships with the governments of both Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh even though those states were not ruled by the Congress.
The former prime minister’s exact words were, “My relationships with the government of Madhya Pradesh, the government of Chhattisgarh were very good. We never discriminated against BJP-ruled states.” He went on to say that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan could testify to this. The relevant part of Singh’s statement starts at 1.20 minutes in the complete video tweeted earlier by Congress.
Singh was not praising BJP governments in Madhya Pradeshand Chhatisgarh. He was, in fact, advising Prime Minister Modi to not discriminate against states that are not ruled by the BJP. His original statement, “My relationships with the government of Madhya Pradesh, the government of Chhattisgarh were very good” was clipped and only had him say, “The government of Madhya Pradesh, the government of Chhattisgarh were very good.”
This is not an isolated instance of BJP IT cell heads circulating cropped videos to portray the Congress in poor light. Earlier this month, Amit Malviya tweeted a misleading clip of Jitu Patwari, a Congress MLA from Madhya Pradesh. He had also shared a clipped video to malign journalist Ravish Kumar.
In August, Priti Gandhi had circulated a video of pro-Khalistan supporters gate-crashing a Congress event with a false narrative.
This article first appeared on AltNews.