BJP Karnataka’s ‘brazenly communal’ post raises questions over ECI’s conduct

Priyank Kharge said that ECI was doing little or nothing about repeated communal posts, deeming it the new frontal 'Election Morcha' for BJP.”

ByNolan Patrick Pinto

Published May 05, 2024 | 12:04 AMUpdatedMay 05, 2024 | 7:17 AM

The post depicted two characters, purportedly Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah, nurturing a specific chick with a skullcap at the cost of other nestlings. (X)

“Hateful, communal, pathetic, and Goebbelsian stuff” is how several people are describing a new animated video post by Bharatiya Janata Party’s Karnataka unit on its social media pages.

The latest animated post on X by BJP Karnataka is titled, Beware…Beware…Beware…! It shows a bird’s nest with three small eggs labelled “Scheduled Castes” (SC), “Scheduled Tribes” (SC), and “OBCs”.

It then shows two men, purportedly animated versions of Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah, walking in and dropping a big egg, labelled “Muslim”. When the egg hatches, the chick with a skullcap is bigger than the rest, and Rahul feeds it with a box of “funds”.

The chick grows and with its wings, pushes the other nestlings out while the Congress leaders guffaw.

Speaking exclusively to South First, Karnataka Information Technology and Biotechnology (IT/BT) Minister Priyank Kharge said it was not the first time that the BJP did something like the post. Even their Instagram post on the Congress manifesto was highly divisive.

A case was earlier registered against the BJP for posting such an Instagram reel.

“The worst thing is that despite the Chief Election Commissioner on record saying that misinformation is the biggest threat to democracy, they are doing little or nothing about it. It looks like the Election Commission (EC) is a new frontal ‘Election Morcha’ for the BJP.”

He wondered what prevented the EC from taking action, even as social media platforms acted against such posts. “When they portrayed Rahul Gandhi holding a Pakistan flag, etc., Instagram took the post down because of the public outrage. The EC did not act.”

He said the BJP is getting emboldened by the EC’s inaction. “The EC is just being a mute spectator. It almost looks like they are hand in glove (with the BJP),” he added.

Related: ‘As long as I’m alive, won’t allow quota for Muslims on basis of religion’: PM Modi

Prohibition on use of religion

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was implemented on 16 March to ensure free and fair elections. It prohibits the use of religion in campaigns under the following: Communal Appeals, Religious Tensions, Criticism of Opponents and Religious Gatherings.

BJP’s allegations

The BJP has been targeting the Congress in Karnataka alleging that they have included Muslims as a whole in the OBC list “through the backdoor.” Reservations for Muslims in Karnataka, however, has been around for three decades now. Muslims have been categorised as socially and educationally backward by several commissions. That is the yardstick applied for four percent reservation.

While campaigning in Morena, Madhya Pradesh, Modi said, “Overnight, all Muslims, regardless of wealth or social status, were turned into OBCs by the signing of a piece of paper. OBCs reservation rights were snatched clandestinely and illegally and given to Muslims. This was against the principles of Babasaheb Ambedkar.”

Related: Siddaramaiah slams PM Modi over Muslim reservation

Karnataka Congress retorts

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took to X. “It stems from ignorance but also indicative of his desperation born from a fear of defeat. No leader in the history of our country has ever demeaned the office of the Prime Minister to such a low level.”

He further added, “Where has the Congress stated that it would take away reservations from backward classes and SC/STs to give them to Muslims? Which state government under the Congress has implemented such a policy? Is there any official government document related to this? Prime Minister Modi must present all these details before the nation.”

The chief minister also delivered a googly, saying that Muslims have been included in 2B category for the past 30-odd years.

“It’s true that in Karnataka, Muslims have been included in the 2B category for backward classes. This is not something done now. It has been based on the reports of the Backward Classes Commissions starting the L. G. Havanur in 1974,” he posted.

“This reservation has been in place for the past three decades. Neither the BJP government previously in power at the state, nor the Narendra Modi-led Union Government that has been in power for the past ten years, has questioned this reservation. Moreover, no one, including the BJP, has challenged it in court,” he added.

(Edited by Majnu Babu).