The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Chhattisgarh unit on Friday took down three “objectionable” posts from social media platform Instagram after a warning from the state chief electoral officer, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.

State poll authorities verbally reached out to the Hindutva party and also contacted the parent company of Instagram, Meta, following which the posts were deleted.

“We have taken down the three objectionable posts from the BJP Instagram handle and a stern warning has been given to them not to upload such posts in future,” the newspaper quoted Chief Electoral Officer Reena Kangale as saying.

The first post, which was an animated video, was uploaded on Instagram by the BJP on May 15. It showed a man in a skull cap and green clothes robbing a woman, The Indian Express reported.

The woman then calls out for help in the video, after which a caricature of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi swoops down and takes her purse. He then proceeds to give it to the man.

The second post, uploaded on May 20, was an image that showed the Congress leader snatching a woman’s mangalsutra and giving it to a man, according to the newspaper.

The third post was an animated video that had also been uploaded by the Karnataka unit of the BJP earlier in May. The animated video featured a caricature of Gandhi placing an egg with “Muslims” written on it in a nest, alongside three other eggs marked as “SC [Scheduled Castes], ST [Scheduled Tribes] and OBC [Other Backward Classes]”.

The video showed Gandhi feeding “funds” to a bird, shown wearing a skullcap, as it hatches out of the “Muslim” egg. The video shows the “Muslim” bird pushing away the fledglings that hatch from the other three eggs, followed by the sound of laughter.

After the Karnataka BJP uploaded the video, the police registered a first information report against party president JP Nadda, the party’s social media cell chief Amit Malviya and its Karnataka unit chief BY Vijayendra for the post “demonising Muslims”.

The Chattisgarh unit uploaded the video on the social media platform on May 23.

The BJP, in response to the posts being pulled down from the Chattisgarh unit’s handle, claimed that they had no religious connotations, according to The Indian Express.

“The posts were related to the Congress narrative of inheritance tax and taking away reservation and giving it to Muslims,” Somesh Pandey, a member of the BJP’s social media cell, said.

Congress leader Sushil Anand Shukla, however, said that the Election Commission should take legal action against the party.

“They [BJP] have made it a habit of violating the code of conduct and BJP’s social media handles have posted dozens of such posts,” The Indian Express quoted Shukla as saying. “Their handle must be suspended.”

BJP’s claims

During campaigning for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of the BJP have been claiming that the Congress plans to survey and seize private wealth, including the mangalsutras of married Hindu women, and redistribute it among “infiltrators” and “those who have more children”, a dog-whistle reference to the Muslim community.

The Congress’ manifesto neither refers to confiscation of private property, nor to mangalsutras. Modi’s claim was a distortion of a speech in 2006 by Congress leader Manmohan Singh, the prime minister at the time.

Singh had spoken about the need to uplift all disadvantaged communities, not just religious minorities. The Modi government has also repeatedly told Parliament that it has no data on illegal immigrants.

In another speech on April 23, Modi had incorrectly claimed that in Karnataka, the Congress had instituted reservations on the basis of religion – for Muslims – through illegal means.

In 1962, the Congress government in Karnataka had included certain castes of Muslim communities in the Other Backward Classes list, based not on religion, but on social and economic backwardness. It was the government of the Janata Dal (Secular) – now a BJP ally – that had extended the quotas to all Muslim communities in 1994.

Karnataka is just one of 14 states and Union territories where Muslim communities are included in the Other Backward Classes list. This includes Gujarat, where Modi was chief minister.