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Cong fights with pictures

New Delhi, May 3: The Congress today released a series of pictures posted on social media by BJP leaders and Sangh parivar activists with the alleged aim of triggering communal passions, arguing that Narendra Modi’s electoral push was sustained by a divisive agenda.

Union law minister Kapil Sibal said the pictures — burning of Indian flags, declaring war on India and violence against Hindus — were of incidents in Pakistan, Palestine and Bangladesh but were falsely depicted as domestic events. He said this was a crime punishable under the Indian Penal Code and the National Security Act.

A picture, for instance, claimed that minorities had burnt the Indian flag in Hyderabad on Republic Day. But the incident actually happened in Karachi where Jamaat-ud-Dawa supporters set the flag on fire on November 28, 2011. Sibal said Nitin Gadkari posted the picture on Twitter on January 30, 2014, and it was re-tweeted 59 times.

“This was done with the sole purpose of communalising the electoral scene as was done by L.K. Advani who took rath yatra and Modi in Gujarat in the past,” Sibal alleged.

Another picture of the Indian flag on fire, again by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, was tweeted by Asma Khan Pathan, the district president of the BJP Minority Morcha of Kheda in Gujarat. Its caption read: “This photograph shows Bangladeshi Muslims’ protest in Assam. They can burn the Tricolour and we are condemned for saying Vande Mataram.”

Other pictures depicted similar anti-India themes, falsely presented as events in India.

Sibal alleged: “The BJP always created divide and polarised voters for political dividends and did the same in this election.”

Condemning this “nefarious enterprise”, he claimed: “It reflects the mindset of a party and individual who hopes to be the Prime Minister of India. It is a national shame.”

Sibal said the Gujarat BJP website termed Modi the key player of two events — the Somnath to Ayodhya yatra and Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra between 1988 and 1995 — that ensured the BJP’s ascent to power. He claimed both yatras were driven by the communal agenda and expanded the letters MODI as “Model of Dividing India”.The Congress’s official website carried an article claiming Modi had distorted the political discourse by presenting secularism as an alternative to development.

It said: “Today Modi made a mockery of the word secularism and twisted it to fool people. Addressing a public gathering in Khalilabad (UP), he said, ‘Mai kehta hun ki desh ke jawanon ke adhikar surakshit hone chahiye, Congress kehti hai Secularism. Hum kisanon ke hit ki baat karte hain, Congress kehti hai Secularism (I say the future of our soldiers should be secure, Congress says Secularism. I want to talk about the welfare of farmers, Congress says Secularism’.”

The article added: “He should have told people that when he talks about Communalism, the Congress talks about Secularism; when he talks about dividing the country, the Congress talks about uniting people. Making such misleading statements has become an inseparable part of Modi’s personality and style. He may not be able to change it even after the elections.”