A widely-shared video of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaking to a Christian priest is an instance of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s “mischievous lies”, party leader Jairam Ramesh said on Friday, according to ANI.
The video showed Gandhi speaking with a pastor named George Ponnaiah during the Congress’ Bharat Jodo (Unite India) Yatra.
The Congress leader was heard asking the priest whether Jesus Christ is a form of God. In response, Ponnaiah is heard saying: “He is the real God...God reveals himself as a man...human person, not like Shakti.”
Several BJP leaders used the video to question the motives of the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra.
However, Congress general secretary in charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said that the video was completely bogus. “What was said in the conversation has nothing to do with the tweet,” he said. “We have issued the full text of what was said. It is typical mischievous lies being spread by the BJP to damage the spirit of Bharat Jodo Yatra.”
In a post, the Congress MP said that the video was an “atrocious tweet from the BJP hate factory”, and that it bore no relation with what was recorded in the audio.
“People who were responsible for the killing of Mahatma Gandhi and the murders of people like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh are raising questions! What a morbid joke,” he said.
On the other hand, BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla alleged that the Congress’ tour was in fact a “Nafrat Jodo [foment hatred]” yatra.
In July, Ponnaiah was arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Hindus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court granted bail to him in August.
Another BJP spokesperson, Sambit Patra, also shared the video and asked how this could be part of a Bharat Jodo campaign.
“Denouncing one religion for the appeasement of the other.. This ‘Hindu Hatred’ of the Congress in general and Rahul in particular is no more a clandestine affair,” Patra said. “…Rahul wears it on his sleeves with pride!”