On May 18, a Congress toolkit was exposed on social media that opened a Pandora’s Box of malicious attempts the largest opposition party has allegedly been making to tarnish the image of India, central government, and PM Modi. The Congress, however, says the toolkit is fake and has threatened legal action.
In the toolkit, there was a section that specifically talked about tarnishing the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In that section, it was mentioned that the approval ratings of PM Modi are higher than the Congress party anticipated, irrespective of “crisis and mismanagement.” They urged Congress party members and volunteers to take the situation as “an opportunity to destroy his image and erode his popularity.”
‘Use every resource to tarnish PM Modi’s image’
Divided into five subsections, the section discussed how they could tarnish the image of PM Modi by using the resources they have developed over time. The first point was to enable the accounts that look like PM Modi or BJP supporters and push the agenda against the government.
The second point discussed how foreign correspondents in India and Indian Oped writers who write for the foreign publications could be roped in to exclusively focus on the “mismanagement under PM Modi.”
The creators of the toolkit urged everyone to use “dramatic pictures” of funeral and dead bodies. Everyone has noticed how such images have been popping up for the last few weeks, causing distress among the masses. They further asked everyone to approach the journalists who have been covering funerals and magnify the “right image” at local level.
The toolkit urged everyone to approach “friendly intellectuals and opinion-makers” to use demeaning phrases against PM Modi in the intellectual discourse. It was pointed out that the intellectuals and opinion-makers must have “greater acceptability when used politically.”
Social media volunteers urged to use #ModiStrain
What shocked me the most in this section was that the toolkit wants to tarnish the image of India and PM Modi by calling the mutant Covid-19 strain Indian Strain or Modi Strain. We searched the term Modi Strain and tried to create a timeline since this phrase was used. This is what we found.
Though the phrase was in use since December 2020 when a variant was detected first time in India, its usage spiked up After April 20, 2021. The usage of the phrase was prominent in May 2021.
The hashtag #ModiStrain has been making rounds since April 22, 2021. A lot of social media users who appear to be Congress followers are using the hashtag.
The hashtag and phrases “#IndiaStrain” and “India Strain” are more prominently used on social media. By the second half of April 2021, its usage increased exponentially on Twitter, and there was a wave of tweets with the mention of Indian Strain in them.
Indian Media houses like NDTV can be seen associated with spreading the phrase and hashtag.
It is interesting to see everyone so hell-bent to use the phrase Indian Strain or India Strain while they were against calling it a Chinese Virus or Wuhan Virus.
OpIndia could not independently verify the authenticity of the toolkit.