BJP spreading virus of communal prejudice & hatred: Sonia Gandhi

Congress president takes on PM on loopholes in Covid-19 combat plans, and ignores allegations by TV anchors


Arnab Image Courtesy:bangaloremirror


“Let me also share with you something that should worry each and every one as Indians. When we should be tackling the coronavirus unitedly, the BJP continues to spread the virus of communal prejudice and hatred,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s words are the strongest criticism of what has widely been reported as the communalisation of the Covid-19 pandemic in India. 

For nearly a month after the sudden national lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an attempt to slow the Coronavirus spread, a dangerous trend of  targeting members of the minority communities, has emerged. Though the incidents are regularly reported and analysed, mostly by independent media houses, the government has not really cracked down on communal hate speech, and hate crime. The government critic has come on crimes committed in non-Bharatiya Janata Party ruled states, and not much has been said on the attempt to communalise the spread of Coronavirus in the country by putting the blame on Muslims. 

Speaking to party workers over a video telecast of a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on April 23, Gandhi minced no words and said even as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was spreading “communal prejudice and hatred”. As reported by The Hindu, her remarks come just a few days after the BJP targeted the Uddhav Thackray led Maharashtra govt, where the Congress is an ally, over the Palghar lynching incident. Three people, including two Hindu ascetics, were killed by a mob on April 16. Since then a narrative was built to give a dangerous communal spin to the incident. 

Sonia Gandhi called such attempts damaging to the social harmony of the country . “Let me also share with you something that should worry each and every one us Indians. When we should be tackling the coronavirus unitedly, the BJP continues to spread the virus of communal prejudice and hatred. Grave damage is being done to our social harmony. Our party, we will have to work hard to repair that damage,” she said.

She also took the government on and raised the issue of the low levels of testing for Covid19 and said the kits were in short supply and often of poor quality, “We have repeatedly urged the Prime Minister that there is no alternative to testing, trace and quarantine programme. Unfortunately, testing still remains low and testing kits are still in short supply and of poor quality,”. She also raised the most critical  issue being faced by medics and other frontline workers, “ PPE kits are being provided to our doctors & healthcare workers but the number and quality is poor,” she said.

She also spoke at the CWC on how the lockdown was affecting the poor, especially farmers, and migrant workers and said that the Central government “does not appear to have a clear idea on how the situation will be managed after May 3,” Gandhi’s remarks were quoted in multiple news reports.

However, what was interesting was the fact that Sonia Gandhi completely ignored the massive volatile allegations made by Arnab Goswami of Republic TV, linking her name to the Palghar incident. The issue only came up in the online press interaction when a related question was asked by a journalist. 

Congress spokespeson KC Venugopal added that the Palghar incident was not communal, “Palgar is a stronghold of BJP, out of the 110 people not even a single muslim is there. How can it be communal?

“Everyone has the right to criticise but in the name of criticism malicious  propaganda is spread to motivate communal clashes across the country,” he added.

Additional questions were asked about the many complaints being registered against the TV Anchor after he accused Sonia Gandhi of ‘celebrating’ the Palghar violence, on his show in his characteristic rabble rousing style.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said only someone with a “cheap mentality,” could have done something like that. He said that the “friendship” between Prime Minister Modi and the TV channel’s anchor was “known to the world”. 

He hinted the “vulgar” comments were reflective of a collective thought  of the anchor and the party that supported him. Adding to the colorful vocabulary of the strangest discourse  fuelled by the TV anchor yet, Surjewala said such journalism was ‘Chatukaar’ roughly translated as licking, or bootlicking. 

According to a report by Bar&Bench, Goswami has clearly stated that he suspects the attack to be “orchestrated by Sonia Gandhi and the Congress leadership and that he and his wife would not cow down by “this cowardly attack which cannot have happened without the go ahead by Sonia Gandhi.”

Surjewala refuted allegations made by the Republic TV editor, co-founder, owner and anchor and amplified by his supporters, that he was attacked by youth Congress members, after his show, and said, “we respect even our opponents”.

Surjewala said such allegations were not good for Indian journalism nor for democracy. “Why is the PM quiet mode? If you have the courage, come and face Mrs Sonia gandhi. Do not hide behind bootlicking reporters,” Surjewala challenged.

Meanwhile, On April 23, the Press Council of India took suo motu cognisance on the alleged attack on Arnab Goswami

“Violence is not the answer even against bad journalism” stated  the Council. 

It said every citizen, including a journalist had a right  to their opinion. The council has sought a report from the authorities on the investigations into the alleged attack on Arnab Goswami’s car. 


Arnab Goswami
Arnab Goswami
Arnab Goswami
Arnab Goswami



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