The ‘Congress toolkit’ expose has sent ripples across both the ruling party and the opposition party with the former accusing the INC of utter insensitivity and the latter crying foul.
The well-detailed document meant to tarnish Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image nationally as well as internationally suggests various routes to be taken to achieve the target. One of them being “amplifying work of Congress organizations” to contrast the apparent lack of work done by the BJP.
Notice how the INC youth leader Srinivas BV is being pitted against BJP’s Tejasvi Surya and touted as the ‘next messiah’ amidst the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Well here’s how the campaign run by the INC and its alleged “supporters” fits the toolkit perfectly.
Amplifying SOS messages, attempts to use foreign embassies
One of the first recommendations of this particular section suggests promoting SOS redressals and offering “priority help” to journalists, media professionals and other influencers.
Remember how the New Zealand embassy approached an INC youth leader for medical oxygen instead of the Government of India? Though the embassy faced a huge backlash, however, Srinivas was soon put on a pedestal of managing to help even an ‘embassy’ thus wanting to show the BJP in a poor light.
Srinivas then offered immeidate help to popular journalist Rubika Liyaquat and Indian filmmaker Ashoke Pandit on being tagged which again was the talk of the town for a while.
बैंगलोर में इंजेक्शन के लिए कुछ प्रयास करता हूँ ।#SOSIYC
— Srinivas B V (@srinivasiyc) April 27, 2021
I am forwarding this request to @IYCKarnataka for the further follow up.
Team please do the needful. #SOSIYC
— Srinivas B V (@srinivasiyc) May 7, 2021
In a recent update, the youth leader addressed to a SOS Tweet made by Indian cricketer Hanuma Vihari.
It’s Done ✅
— Srinivas B V (@srinivasiyc) May 18, 2021
It is notable here that the New Zealand embassy had zero Covid cases. They later apologised for bypassing the Ministry of External Affairs and contacting the opposition politicians for help over dubious needs.
It was soon after Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had tried to pull up EAM S Jaishankar over The Philippines embassy being given oxygen by Youth Congress workers. EAM Jaishankar had retorted to the sly, stating that the embassy of the Republic of Philippines had no Covid cases and he is intrigued to know from where Congress workers are getting oxygen cylinders for political goal scoring while the general public is facing acute oxygen shortage in hospitals.
Media Coverage by ‘friendly journalists’
As soon as the fanfare around Srinivas BV picked up, he became the darling of some media houses portraying him as the only leader working on-ground. This was in tandem with the point from the toolkit which suggested collaborating with friendly journalists to amplify the message.
We had earlier reported of how the ‘neutral platform’ The Quint published an elaborate video promoting Indian Youth Congress just a day before Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to social media to urge fellow Congress workers to come forward and help amid the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Next, INC’s Srinivas was interviewed by ThePrint’s Shekhar Gupta in a “Off the Cuff” segment sharing the help extended by him during the pandemic.
— ThePrintIndia (@ThePrintIndia) May 11, 2021
The campaign was supported by Rahul Gandhi’s fan club who shared Srinivas’s story covered in Congress’s mouthpiece ‘National Herald’.
IYC President @srinivasiyc comes from humble middle class family with no money power or remotest political connection. “It is because of @RahulGandhi that I am able to serve people today,” he tells National Herald in this #ExclusiveInterview. #srinivasBV https://t.co/Kzzll523FT
— Sanjukta Basu (@sanjukta) May 15, 2021
The news of Srinivas being picked up by the Delhi Police for a regular investigation created a huge uproar. This is when the youth leader found support in Congress’s spokesperson who in a statement to NDTV claimed that the Delhi Police must rather investigate the “missing” (refer to the toolkit’s point number 07) Prime Minister and Home Minister.
— NDTV (@ndtv) May 14, 2021
Taking help of “friendly” supporters
What use the campaign if not amplified enough! The toolkit specifies collaborating with influential handles to propagate the message further.
From Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker to top INC leaders to Congress’s favorite cartoonist Satish Acharya, all toed in line to appreciate Srinivas’s work and efforts.
Bhasker had raised her voice on Twitter for the IYC leader and yet again “stood” for the cause. While doing so she alleged that the government had left its citizens to die amid the pandemic and it is the Congress helping the people selflessly.
Raise your voice for people who have worked tirelessly & selflessly to help citizens who have been left to die by the govt. they trusted! @srinivasiyc & his team #SOSIYC have done heroic yeomen service in these dark times! More power to you Srinivas ji & @IYC #IStandWithIYC 💙
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) May 14, 2021
Congress leader P Chidambaram too extended his support to Srinivas while shaming the Delhi Police.
Shame on Delhi police who are questioning IYC President B V Srinivas
How can anyone be questioned without an FIR?
Is there an FIR? Let the Delhi police make public the FIR.
Delhi police will never live down this shameful attempt to suppress humanitarian work.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 14, 2021
INC’s favorite cartoonist Satish Acharya too had released a cartoon on the same day as Swara Bhasker and P Chidambaram expressed their support for the INC youth leader.
— Satish Acharya (@satishacharya) May 14, 2021
The Tweet received 15,000 likes and close to 4,000 shares.
Role of “party supporters”
The campaign was further intensified by Congress’s supporters and party workers who not just amplified the messages but at the same time left no stone unturned to malign the government so much so that is appeared nothing less than sycophancy.
Congress worker Bunty Shelke who was seen creating a ruckus at Nagpur’s Municipality Corporation threatening to “burn them down” shared a cartoon showing Srinivas as a superhero.
Name :- Srinivas BV
Crime :- Saving Lives
— Bunty Shelke (@Buntyshelke_inc) May 14, 2021
Srinivas is now also regarded as the “oxygen man” evident in the Tweet below. The Tweet highlights how there is an attempt to create a parallel government rather than working in sync with the current government to help the people in need.
B V Srinivas
Most of you would have come across this name during this covid pandemic period.He is working like a parallel government ensuring help to each and everyone who sought the help of SOSIYC from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.Proud to say that he is our president.@srinivasiyc pic.twitter.com/GSVV7CwQZw
— J S Akhil (@JSAkhilINC) May 11, 2021
An INC spokesperson even created a video pitting Srinivas against BJP’s Tejasvi Surya by demeaning the latter and attacking him by using a selective image to target his ideology.
कांग्रेस अपनों को सांसे देने के लिए दिन रात सेवा कर रही है और भाजपा लोगों की सांसो को छिनने में लगी हुई है।@RahulGandhi जी के दिशा निर्देश पर @srinivasiyc जी और @sosiyc के ये जांबाज योद्धा अपनी जान की परवाह किए बिना इस मानवता के सेवा कार्य मे बहुत संजीदगी के साथ जुटे हुए है. pic.twitter.com/tEjtJTgxUQ
— Vivek Mehta | विवेक मैहता (@VivekINC03) May 12, 2021
Another concerning issue is how the toolkit directs Congress workers to ‘block beds’ in ‘friendly hospitals’, to be released to specific persons chosen by Congress.
In their pursuit to mount an attack against the BJP and PM Modi, the Congress leaders collaborated with local leaders to block beds and other facilities in some ‘friendly’ hospitals, which were to be made available only on their request, the alleged toolkit said.
“Liaise with local ground level political leaders in cities to keep some beds and other facilities blocked in friendly hospitals, to be released only on our request,” one of the subheadings under “Amplify work of frontal Congress organisations,” mentions.
This is nothing but blatant racketeering while the general public struggled to find beds in hospitals.
Meanwhile, AICC Chairman Rajeev Gowda has threatened to take legal action against top BJP leaders including JP Nadda and Sambit Patra alleging that the toolkit is not original and has been planted by BJP.