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HomeElection WatchConspiracy by Karnataka Congress To Divide Hindu Votes? No, Fake Letter Resurfaces...

Conspiracy by Karnataka Congress To Divide Hindu Votes? No, Fake Letter Resurfaces After Poll Results

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim

A purported letter by Karnataka Congress leader and cabinet minister MB Patil to former Congress president Sonia Gandhi in 2017.

The letter, which allegedly states that the Congress is adopting a “divide Hindus and unite Muslims-Christians strategy” to win the state Assembly elections in 2018 with the help of the Global Christian Council and World Islamic Organisation, is being cited as evidence of the party’s tactics for the recently concluded 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The results did not deliver the overwhelming victory anticipated by the BJP-led NDA or predicted by the exit polls as the Congress, which is part of the INDIA bloc, won 99 seats compared to the 52 it won in 2019, eating into the BJP’s share in Rajasthan and Haryana.

The archived version of the tweet can be seen here.

Fact

Newschecker first ran a keyword search “MB Patil letter Sonia Gandhi Karnataka 2018”, which led us to this NewsMinute report, dated April 16, 2019, which states that the BJP tweeted out a fake letter of a “conspiracy by a Karnataka minister to divide Hindus”.

“The letter had been doing the rounds on WhatsApp in 2018, ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections, when the issue of a separate Lingayat religion was at its peak. It was first published by fake news website PostCardNews. The ‘letter’ talks about a meeting that a few ministers held with representatives of the ‘Global Christian Council’ and ‘World Islamic Organisation, regarding the strategy to be adopted for the Karnataka Assembly Elections,” read the report, adding that it was later found that the two organisations do not exist.

Also, MB Patil told TNM that the letter is fake and that miscreants had scanned a copy of a letter he had written as the President of Bijapur Lingayat District Educational Association (BLDEA) and changed the contents of the letter.

A further search led us to this MB Patil tweet, dated April 16, 2019, reiterating that the viral letter is fake. “I will take legal action for forgery against those who forged and published this letter. BJP’s frustration is visible. Having lost the support of the people, they are completely dependent on fake papers,” he said, attaching photos of the genuine and fake letterheads.

The Karnataka Congress, too, tweeted about this matter, dated April 16, 2019, stating that it was ready to go to the Supreme Court against all those involved.

We also came across this NDTV report, dated April 24, 2019, stating that Mahesh Vikram Hegde, the co-founder of online news portal Postcard News, was arrested in Karnataka over the false claim.

“Karnataka Home Minister M B Patil had filed a complaint against the circulation of a fake letter by Mr Hegde. The letter is allegedly written by Mr Patil to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi explaining how he is going to divide the Lingayat Community in Karnataka by granting them the status of a separate religion with the help of a saint. Mr Hegde was arrested in Coorg by the CID,” read the report. Similar reports can be seen here and here.

Also Read: Victory Celebrations At Congress HQ? Old Video Of Rahul Gandhi Meeting Party Workers Linked To 2024 Lok Sabha Poll Results

Result: False

Source
The NewsMinute report, April 16, 2019
Tweet, MB Patil, April 16, 2019
Tweet, Karnataka Congress, April 16, 2019


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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