A day after propaganda website Alt News come up with a multitude of ludicrous claims to ‘fact-check’ and give a clean chit to the Congress party in the latest Covid-19 ‘toolkit’ fiasco, another left-wing website ‘The Print’ has now descended to defend the grand old party.
Two toolkit documents, allegedly linked to the Congress party, had got leaked on social media recently, which entailed a detailed plan of action for the Congress leaders and supporters to exploit the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in the country and the Central Vista project to target the Modi government.
While the Congress party has claimed that the Covid-19 toolkit is fake, it has admitted the Central Vista document is real and the AICC Research Department had prepared it. Congress MP and AICC Research Department Chairman Rajeev Gowda, and Alt News, both had claimed that the Covid-19 toolkit document was used using the format of the real Central Vista document. Despite the clarification from the Congress party that the Central Vista document is authentic, The Print has come up with the claim that the document is fake.
On Thursday, the news website The Print, owned by Shekhar Gupta, published a bizarre ‘investigative’ report to give a clean chit to the Congress party in the ongoing ‘toolkit’ controversy. In its latest report, the Print has claimed that the even Central Vista document made by the Congress party is fake.
Further, the Print claimed that they had consulted a few “cyber experts” to analyze the screenshots put out by the BJP leader, who declared that the screenshots were fake.
Here is Sambit Patra’s tweet exposing the Congress party’s link to the toolkit:
Friends yesterday Congress wanted to know who’s the Author of the toolkit.— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 19, 2021
Pls check the properties of the Paper.
Author: Saumya Varma
Who’s Saumya Varma …
The Evidences speak for themselves:
Will Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi reply? pic.twitter.com/hMtwcuRVLW
According to the two cyber experts who were consulted by the Print, the first screenshot shared by Patra was fake. “The file properties of the alleged toolkit as seen in the screenshot are inauthentic, with some technical elements missing in the description,” read the report.
The screenshot mentioned the filename as Central_Vista_Vanity_Project_AICC_Research__1_.pdf, which clearly indicates that they are claiming that the Central Vista document is fake, not the Covid-19 document that the Congress party claims to be fake.
As the filename clearly mentions the words “Central Vista Vanity Project”, it is clear that it shows information of the file admitted as genuine by the Congress party. OpIndia also has accessed the PDF file with the same filename, which contains the same content. The title of the document is “Central Vista Redevelopment: Vanity Project Amidst the Pandemic”, and it has been claimed even by Alt News that it is a genuine document, based on the original document received from the Congress party.
Sambit Patra had tweeted the Central Vista document on 18th May, and its content match with the content published by Alt News which they had received from the Congress party.
Ironically, the Print’s report claiming that the screenshots shared by Sambit Patra about the Central Vista toolkit is fake comes at a time when the Congress party itself has admitted that it is a genuine one. Congress leader Rajeev Gowda had taken to Twitter to admit that the Sambit Patra was showing the metadata of a real document created by one of his staff members. However, he added that Patra showed a fake document of the ‘toolkit,’ claiming to be created by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Research Department.
Moreover, The Print seems to be confused about Congress claims about the toolkits. To be clear, there are two documents circulating on Social Media, one is on Central Vista and the other is on Covid-19. Congress party claims the Covid-19 document is fake and forged, and admits that the Central Vista document was indeed prepared by the AICC Research Department. While propaganda site Alt News stuck to this claim and tried to prove that the Covid-19 toolkit is fake as it uses a different font, The Print seems to have got confused. It ended up trying to prove that the Central Vista document is fake, while not even mentioning the other toolkit that is creating more controversy and which is fake according to Congress.
Strangely, The Print came up with some bizarre analysis over URL of files downloaded from WhatsApp to claim it is fake, forgetting that nobody is questioning the authenticity of the Central Vistal document.
On Tuesday, two documents were ‘leaked’ on social media which gave point to point notes on how to question and discredit the Modi government on a few key points. The documents were allegedly created by the AICC research development. While Congress had refuted one of the documents as fake, there were some uncanny similarities between the instructions in the toolkit and how the narrative especially around the pandemic was built.
The instructions issued in the Congress toolkit are all-encompassing and extensive to launch a formidable attack against the Modi government when they are engrossed in defeating the raging pandemic. From maligning the Kumbh Mela as a ‘super spreader’ event to unwarranted attacks against PM Modi for the Central Vista project to collaborating with ‘friendly’ journalists and international media to defame the Modi government, the toolkit prepared by AICC Research Department had detailed instructions to the Congress leaders and supporters to milk the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and mount an anti-Modi propaganda blitz.
The toolkit expose had created a storm across the country, fuelling massive anger against the Congress party. Several people accused the grand old party of indulging in such cheap politics, especially during a national crisis, to further their political agenda against the Modi government. As accusations against the Congress party grew louder, the party entailed the services of the propaganda website Alt News to give a clean chit for themselves.
However, in a hurry to give clean chit to the Congress party, Alt News not only did a very poor job with its ‘fact-check’, but also ended up exposing the links of the Congress party to the toolkit document.