New Delhi: Armed with the letter that was declared fake several times in the past, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday alleged that the Congress had “conspired to break the Lingayat community in 2017”. The fake letter claims to be from state home minister M.B. Patil to Sonia Gandhi, The News Minute reported.
This letter, which quotes Patil as saying the only way for Congress to win is by dividing Hindus and subsequently uniting Christians and Muslims, has been debunked several times in the past. However, this did not stop BJP Karnataka’s official handle from tweeting it.
The entire Lingayat & Veerashaiva community division was planted under direct instruction of Sonia Gandhi
The letter written to Sonia Gandhi by Congress leader MB Patil exposes shocking details of how Sonia Gandhi wanted to divide Hindu communities in Karnataka pic.twitter.com/ZC6CpQf1fN
— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) April 16, 2019
The Karnataka Congress responded soon after, saying that the letter was fake and quoting Patil saying he would take action against those disseminating it.
“The letter is FAKE
Initiating legal action for forgery against those who produced and published it
— Karnataka Congress (@INCKarnataka) April 16, 2019
The BJP’s tweet came after a Kannada daily, Vijayavani, published a story on April 16 with a photograph of the letter. The full-page article was titled “Again a different fire lit by MB Patil!”
Vijayavani was founded by a former BJP MP, Vijay Sankeshwar.
The Congress has filed a complaint with the chief electoral officer against the BJP state president and other leaders.
This fake letter has been used politically before as well – it went viral before the 2018 assembly polls in the state. Postcard News, a right-wing website, had published a story on the letter which it later deleted.
Fact-checking website BOOM had debunked the letter in 2018. “When I saw the story I was enraged. They have scanned a copy of the letter head of my organisation BLDEA and my signature. It is gross lie by the website [Postcard News] and all to tarnish mine and Soniaji’s reputation,” Patil had told the website then.
In the fake letter, a meeting between Patil and a few ministers and representatives of the Global Christian Council and World Islamic Organisation regarding “strategy to be adopted” is mentioned. BOOM had confirmed in 2018 that neither of these organisations exist.
When asked why the newspaper did a story in 2019 about a letter that had been declared fake a year ago, Channegowda K.N., editor of Vijayavani told BOOM now, “During the 2018 elections, the same letter was viral. We saw that the same letter is viral again and have published the story saying it is doing the rounds again. We have also said that in 2018, Patil had said investigation will be conducted but no such investigation was done, which is odd.”
Asked about the organisation mentioned not existing, he said, “It is not our duty to check whether such organisations exist or not.”