A Toolkit is a set of tools or instructions designed to be used together for executing a particular plan or purpose. During the farmers’ protest, Greta Thunberg mistakenly tweeted a “toolkit” on how to organize farmers’ protests, how to defame the government, and how to corner the big shot businessmen. Since then, the word Toolkit has become the talk of the town and recently, a new “Cornering Narendra Modi and BJP government” toolkit prepared by the Congress Party has been doing the rounds on Social media platforms. While there is nothing wrong in criticizing the decisions and highlighting the mismanagement of the government, it is important to make sure that the opposition does not stoop so low because of their hatred towards the Prime Minister that it ends up obstructing the progress and destroying the harmony of the nation in such critical times.
The four-page detailed document gives insights into the toolkit and how the opposition party is planning on tarnishing Prime Minister Modi’s image by portraying how the government has failed in managing the Covid-19 situation. It also discusses how to defame Hindus by blaming “Kumbha Mela” by repeatedly calling it a super spreader of Covid-19. It also gives details on how to get help from like-minded International media and journalists with vested interests to further the narrative against PM Modi and the BJP government.
Here is a brief plan of Congress to counter Modi Government:
1. Target Kumbh and call it Super-Spreaders
2. Neither comment on Eid gathering, nor engage with such comments or posts
— Shashank Shekhar Jha (@shashank_ssj) May 18, 2021
Kumbh Mela is a show of power and a super spreader, while Eid is a happy social gathering.
The Toolkit begins with insisting on calling the “Kumbha Mela” the super spreader and keep using the term to remind the people that it is the Hindu appeasement politics of BJP that has been causing distress. More emphasis has been given to employing various like-minded journalists to fan this narrative further. It is specifically mentioned that “Avoid getting caught in the trap of Eid and Kumbh false equivalence narrative that the BJP will deploy as a counter”. The toolkit has asked people not to give attention and engage with such social media posts.
The document further states that “Our non-office bearers and supporters can be encouraged to use social media posts to highlight, by carefully using pictures, that Kumbh is a show of political power in the name of religion while Eid gatherings are happy social gatherings of families and communities”.
During the Kumbha Mela, there were directives given to the attendees that Covid negative certificates be presented before attending the gathering. However, it was a hard task to keep a check on every person attending the mela, which made the gathering vulnerable to certain lapses. Therefore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter saying that he has spoken to the Swami Mahamandaleshwar, Swamin Adhveshanand and requested to keep the ‘Shahi Snan’ symbolic at the Kumbh Mela. Replying to his Tweet, Swami Adhveshanand replied he respects the words of our Prime Minister and human lives matter the most and appealed to the Hindus to cooperate and keep the ‘Shahi Snan’ symbolic this year.
On the other hand, guidelines were given by the states to be followed during Ramzan. Several states had put a limit to the number of people entering religious places and the guidelines such as wearing masks will be mandatory. A large gathering was banned. The government had also urged people to celebrate the festival by following social distancing, wearing masks, and using hand sanitizers. Still, numerous people had gathered.
Therefore, if the opposition wants to highlight the chances of the lapses during the Kumbha Mela calling it a super spreader, they should have shown an equal amount of concern for the Eid gathering as well. Being a secular nation, one must not be biased towards any particular religious gathering and evaluate the matter based on facts without being a hypocrite.
PMCARES funds serving the needy?
The next aim of the Toolkit is to attack and question the authenticity of the PM CARES funds.
It is stated in the document that former civil servants should raise questions about PM CARES to know if the fund collected has been serving the purpose or not. It mentions that “If any celebrity donates to PM CARES, then aggressively question them. If they are on social media, then use Congress social media department to embarrass them”.
When Pat Cummins, an Australian cricketer decided to donate $50,000 to PM CARES, he was shamed and bullied for the same.
— Pat Cummins (@patcummins30) April 26, 2021
Later, he diverted his funds to the UNICEF.
Terrific work @CricketAus
FYI I ended up allocating my donation to UNICEF Australia's India COVID-19 Crisis Appeal.
— Pat Cummins (@patcummins30) May 3, 2021
The toolkit also instructs everyone of building a narrative that ventilators sent through PM CARES in Punjab and Chhattisgarh are defective.
From a Press Release on May 12, Wednesday, the Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO) informed that the PM CARES Fund approved procurement of 1,50,000 units of the “Oxycare” System which are developed by the DRDO for Rs 322.5 crores. Along with NRBM (Non-rebreather mask), the Central Government is supposed to buy One Lakh manual and fifty thousand automatic Oxycare systems.
If the opposition is concerned about the people and the PM CARES fund reaching the needy, they should attempt to counter it with facts rather than speculations.
Building a narrative that Gujarat gets special treatment from PM Modi
It has further instructed on building a narrative that though Mr. Modi is the Prime Minister of India, Gujarat gets special treatment from him. It has been mentioned that data should be used to prove that a bias towards Gujarat can be seen easily as it has got a greater number of Vaccines supplied compared to its population. It also states that the distress of people should be used to build anger against the Modi government.
If this report from the Times of India and the report from Money Control is to be taken into account, then Maharashtra and Rajasthan, both non-BJP ruling states are two of the three states to have received the largest number of vaccines. Maharashtra has been getting the biggest share in vaccine supplies but when the population is taken into account, the picture changes.
Dr. Harshawardhan tweeted the same.
Hue & cry by certain States about partisanship by the Union Govt is just a farce, an attempt to hide their own incompetence.
Maharashtra and Rajasthan are 2 of the top 3 States based on allocation of #COVID19Vaccine doses.
Both are non-BJP governed States. pic.twitter.com/ycrBcdJBXG
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) April 8, 2021
Rather than spreading misinformation about the vaccine and creating vaccine hesitancy among the common people, it would have been much helpful had the leaders from the opposition party come forward and supported the vaccination drive instead of inducing fear-mongering amongst their followers.
Is the Central Vista Project necessary?
The document further attacks the Central Vista Project which is estimated to be around Rs. 20,000 Crore and it has specifically asked the users of the toolkit to mobilize friendly academics, journalists, and other influencers to write open letters, tweets, and articles against the project. It also asks the users of the toolkit to brand the project as “Vanity project” which has no public use but is only for Modi’s personal use and the same money could have been diverted for Covid-19 relief. It has specifically emphasize calling the project “Modi’s house”.
From the article published in Goa Chronicle, the argument made by many opposition leaders and so-called environmentalists that funds allocated for the project be used to fight the Chinese virus pandemic seems to be vague. The health budget of India is 2.23 lakh crores which were emphasized by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Union Budget 2021-2022 which is a 137% increase over last year’s spending, 94,000 crores. A separate budget of 20,000 crores has been approved for the redevelopment of central vista which will be allocated over four years. It is important to note that delaying any infrastructure projects leads to cost escalations that will be paid out of taxpayers’ money. Moreover, these buildings are old and pose a threat of structural failure and also they lack the amenities that any office must-have. This increases the maintenance cost and leads to more expenditure of taxpayer’s money.
Image building of INC by immoral means
The next aim of the toolkit is to highlight the work done by the INC workers in tackling the Covid-19 situation and show BJP’s inefficiency.
The first step would be creating a social media track team to track every request for help and contact them on DMs and once the contact is made, the people in need can be requested to post a social media post again by tagging the IYC handles. Once this is done, collaboration with friendly journalists can be done to amplify the message.
One of the most shocking points highlighted in the toolkit is to “liaise with local ground level political leaders in the cities to keep some beds and other facilities blocked in friendly hospitals to be released on our request” and to “respond to help only if a person tags the IYC handle”. Moreover, priority much is given to journalists, media professionals, and other influencers.
There are elected MLAs and MPs from the opposition parties as well who can come forward selflessly to help the people in need during such tough times when the entire nation is fighting against the Chinese Virus, but instead of doing that, they are being instructed on helping people “only if they tag the IYC handles” and prioritize the “journalists, media professionals and influencers”. They are accusing the ruling party of playing preferential politics, then don’t they fall under the same head when they say that people from “media professional and influencers” should be preferred over the common man?
Tarnishing PM Modi’s image using Covid-19 as an opportunity
The final point in the toolkit refers to “use the Covid-19 crisis to destroy Modi’s image and erode his popularity” by using resources from social media to question his competence and efficiency. International media coverage by foreign correspondents in India can be tailored to focus on Covid mismanagement.
It is perfectly fine to ask the international media to help for a cause unless it goes against the reputation of the nation for personal vested interests.
Is it humane to thrive on the dead?
One of the most dreadful things mentioned in the document was the use of “dramatic pictures of funerals and dead bodies” and to magnify such reporting.
It should be known that according to the Section 297 of the Indian Penal it is a punishable offense if any person acts intending to hurt the religious sentiments of a person or trespasses a place of worship or a place of performing the last rituals or funeral rites with an intention that brings indignity to any human corpse or generates any inconvenience to any persons assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies shall be punished with imprisonment up to one year or a fine or with both
Section 297 states that “Trespassing on burial places, etc.—Whoever, to wound the feelings of any person, or of insulting the religion of any person, or with the knowledge that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded, or that the religion of any person is likely to be insulted thereby, commits any trespass in any place of worship or on any place of the sepulchre, or any place set apart from the performance of funeral rites or as a depository for the remains of the dead, or offers any indignity to any human corpse, or causes disturbance to any persons assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.”
Earning your bread and butter by selling the dead is the worst thing to do in such critical times. A report from OpIndia says that photos showcasing the dead and funeral pyres lit ablaze were sold for Rs. 23,000 a piece on Getty Images. The final rites of a person are extremely personal to one’s family. It is inhumane to do so! Period.
The virus made sure to make the life of a person miserable, at least people should spare other people in their death.
Normalizing the word “Indian Strain”
It also emphasizes using the word “Indian Strain” whenever the new variant is mentioned. It asks the social media volunteers to even call it “Modi Strain”.
From this Tweet, it seems like the toolkit is already being executed and the word “Indian variant” or “Indian Strain” is already being used by various “Friendly” news channels. You may shudder to call it Chinese Virus because it sounds racist but you may call it “Indian strain” or even worse “Modi strain”. That is the epitome of hypocrisy displayed by the opposition party.
— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) May 18, 2021
The toolkit finally suggests using a prefixsepulcher “missing”, “quarantined”, “sidelined”, and “insensitive” for Ministers such as Amit Shah, S. Jaishankar, Rajnath Singh, and Nirmala Sitharaman. Moreover, letters must be written to Modi at regular intervals with suggestions that are a good mix of emotionally appealing ideas among some common-sense suggestions.
In conclusion, I would say, India truly deserves a better opposition; instead of wasting time in designing this utterly dangerous toolkit, had the opposition truly focused on helping people and making things better, people would have respected them. In a time of crisis, people must forget their political and religious differences, keep aside their vendetta and join hands in making the situation better.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author