The Congress on Tuesday wrote to the Delhi police commissioner seeking to file a complaint against Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda, the outfit’s spokesperson Sambit Patra, and other party leaders on charges of disseminating forged documents with the intent of creating “communal disharmony and civil unrest”, The New Indian Express reported.
The complaint came as a response to a tweet by Patra claiming that the Congress had prepared a “toolkit”, or campaign material, to hurt the reputation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government over its handling of coronavirus management and the Central Vista project in Delhi.
Apart from Nadda and Patra, the Congress also named Union minister Smriti Irani and BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh in the complaint.
Earlier, on Tuesday morning, Congress’ research department head Rajeev Gowda tweeted saying the purported “toolkit” on coronavirus was fake.
“We are filing an FIR [First Information Report] for forgery against JP Nadda and Sambit Patra,” Gowda tweeted. “When our country is devastated by Covid, instead of providing relief, BJP shamelessly concocts forgeries.”
Gowda said that the document tweeted by Patra about the Central Vista project was genuine, but not the one on Covid-19, reported the Hindustan Times. “I see all background papers before they are sent to the party,” he said. “No such document has been prepared by us.”
The Central Vista project, an initiative of the Narendra Modi government, aims to redevelop a 3.2-km stretch that lies at the heart of Lutyens Delhi built by the British in the 1930s. It involves tearing down and rebuilding several government buildings, including iconic landmarks, and constructing a new Parliament at a total cost of Rs 20,000 crore.
Gowda’s response came after Patra tweeted parts of two documents – a five-page excerpt of a purported “toolkit” on the Central Vista project, and a small portion of one he claimed to be related to the central government’s Covid-19 management.
Commenting on the document on the Central Vista project, Patra claimed it was made to “tarnish the image of India” and was “full of lies and deceit”.
As for purported coronavirus-related document, the BJP spokesperson tweeted, “Disgusting to say the least. Rahul Gandhi wanting to use this opportunity of Pandemic to destroy the image of PM Modi. Congress workers instructed to call the mutant strain as ‘Modi strain’.”
Several BJP leaders, including Santhosh tweeted a longer version of the document on coronavirus.
Party chief JP Nadda did not tweet the purported documents but took to Twitter to attack Congress on the matter. “Dividing society and spewing venom against others….Congress is a master at this,” he said. “India is seeing Congress’ antics, while the nation is fighting Covid-19. I would urge Congress to go beyond ‘toolkit models’ and do something constructive.”
The term “toolkit” was used often earlier this year after climate activist Disha Ravi was arrested by the Delhi Police in February for allegedly sharing and editing a document intended to amplify the protests against the new farm laws. The “toolkit” – a common term used by social activists for campaign material – was also tweeted by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
Granting bail to Ravi in the case, a Delhi court had noted that “being editor of an innocuous toolkit” was not an offence. The court had upheld that the right to dissent was guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution, suggesting that the founding fathers of the country “accorded due respect to the divergence of opinion”.