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BJP under attack after report claims firm boosted its campaign on FB

Source: PTI
March 15, 2022 00:44 IST
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The Congress on Monday cited a media report, which claimed that a Reliance-funded firm boosted Bharatiya Janata Party's campaigns on Facebook, to allege that "murder of democracy" was taking place with the ruling party being promoted through "divisive proxy ads" during elections.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets BJP supporters during an election campaign rally for the Manipur assembly polls in Imphal, February 22, 2022. Photograph: ANI Photo

Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury described it as a "brazen destruction of the foundations of our democracy".

Tagging the report, he said this is vitiating the information space to spread hate and disinformation.


"The EC (Election Commission) must take cognisance as an MNC and a mega corporate-favourite are colluding to distort Indian democracy," he said.

The attack by Opposition leaders came over an Al Jazeera report which claimed that loopholes allowed India's largest conglomerate to pump in millions of rupees to place and promote surrogate advertisements to boost the reach and popularity of the BJP in the lead up to the 2019 parliamentary elections and nine state elections.

The firm in question is a subsidiary of Jio Platforms Ltd, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Group, according to the report.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said Reliance must explain why they have been funding the fake news via BJP's propaganda page on Facebook.

"The deep lies funded by Reliance not only targeted @INCIndia & @RahulGandhi but also were intended to create communal disharmony in India!" he said.

The Congress, on its official Twitter, handle said the misuse of social media to attack the democratic fabric of our nation is not new and this is BJP's modus operandi.

"Hate, deception & distraction are BJP's strongest weapons," the party said.

Attacking Facebook, the Congress asked can a global firm allow its platform to spread hate and misinformation.

"Especially when this hate & misinformation is to manipulate a democracy? Why is Facebook prioritising the propaganda on one party?" the party said.

"Untruthfully defaming the Opposition is the only way BJP can hide its incompetence & retain power. A very costly consequence for the nation," the Congress said in another tweet.

Congress leader and spokesperson Supriya Srinate tagged the media report on Twitter and said, "Rel Jio funded co- led byBJP leader's kin pumped money into FB to promote BJP malign @RahulGandhi through fake news. FB removed 687 pages that promoted @INCIndia only 1 of BJP Why is India's richest man murdering democracy?"

Youth Congress chief Srinivas B V cited the report and said Facebook allowed a Reliance Jio-funded firm headed by a BJP leader's nephew to promote India's ruling party BJP through divisive proxy ads during elections.

All are hand-in-glove in this trade of hatred, he added.

Social media in-charge Rohan Gupta also attacked the BJP and tweeted, "Deception. Defamation. Devastation. The hum do humare do can stoop to unimaginable lows to satiate their greed. Greed for power & money."

Congress' whip in Lok Sabha Manickam Tagore said the Ambani funded company led by BJP leader's son pumped lakhs of money into Facebook to promote BJP malign Rahul Gandhi through fake news.

"FB removed 687 pages that promoted congress only 1 of BJP, Asia's richest man hand full of blood in the murder of democracy," he tweeted.

Chhattisgarh minister T S Singhdeo also shared the media report on Twitter and said it was a must read article, on how fundamentally important democratic processes were being "tampered" with by creating loopholes in favour of the BJP.

"That too under the watch of Constitutional authorities like the Election Commission of India," he added.

In a tweet, Congress leader Salman Soz said, "When Reliance funds a company that promotes BJP through divisive ads on Facebook, you get a sense of the odds against Congress & opposition."

"This entire nexus needs to be dismantled because it threatens Indian democracy. Only sustained political pressure will overcome this nexus," he said.

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