Lok Sabha polls: BJP takes down three Insta posts after ECI rap

The Congress has demanded legal action against the BJP for the allegedly communal posts

Representative image
Representative image

NH Political Bureau

Three controversial posts on the Instagram handle of the BJP's Chhattisgarh unit were taken down on Friday following intervention by the state's chief electoral officer (CEO), the Indian Express has reported.

According to the report, Chhattisgarh CEO Reena Kangale announced that a "strong warning" had been issued to the party to prevent the uploading of similar content in the future.

The first post, uploaded on 15 May, was an animated video depicting a man in a skull cap and green clothes robbing a woman. When the woman called for help, a caricature of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi appeared, took the woman's purse, and handed it to the man.

"The second post, uploaded on 20 May, was an image showing a caricature of Rahul Gandhi snatching a woman's mangalsutra and handing it to a man," reads the report.

The third post, uploaded on 23 May, was an animated video originally posted by the BJP's Karnataka unit on 7 May. It showed Rahul Gandhi placing a large egg labelled 'Muslim' in a nest with smaller eggs labelled 'SC', 'ST', and 'OBC'.

"The hatchling from the 'Muslim' egg then grows larger and pushes the others out of the nest. This post received 1,040 likes," said the Indian Express report.

All three posts were removed after the Election Commission of India (ECI) contacted the BJP and Instagram's parent company Meta. "We have taken down the three objectionable posts from the BJP Instagram handle, and a stern warning has been given to them not to upload such posts in the future," stated CEO Kangale.

The BJP defended the posts, asserting that they were not objectionable and targeted the Congress’s manifesto. "We did not receive any notice from the Election Commission, but we removed the posts as we are following election guidelines. There was nothing religious about it…The posts were related to the Congress narrative of inheritance tax and taking away reservation and giving it to Muslims," said Somesh Pandey of the BJP's social media cell in Chhattisgarh.

Reacting to the development, the Congress demanded legal action against the BJP for the posts. "This is an extremely serious issue where the BJP is conspiring to disrupt the communal harmony of India and defame the Congress party. They habitually violate the code of conduct, and BJP’s social media handles have posted dozens of such posts. Their handle must be suspended. Just letting the BJP off with a warning is not enough. The Election Commission should take legal action," Sushil Anand Shukla, head of the Congress communication cell in Chhattisgarh, said.

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