EC tells X to immediately take down Karnataka BJP post on Muslim quota

The video advances the BJP’s recent rhetoric on the Congress helping Muslims misappropriate resources from SC/ST/OBC Hindus.

Updated - May 08, 2024 08:37 am IST

Published - May 07, 2024 06:31 pm IST - New Delhi

A view of the Election Commission of India in New Delhi.

A view of the Election Commission of India in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Election Commission of India (ECI) ordered X, formerly Twitter, to take down an animated video posted by BJP Karnataka. The video features caricatures of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, advancing the party’s recent messaging that the Congress is diverting funds and resources away from SC/ST/OBC Hindus towards Muslims. As of May 7 evening, the post had garnered over 90 lakh views, and had not yet been taken down. 

In a notice to X’s nodal officer for India, a copy of which was published on the ECI website, the poll body said that the video was “violative of extant legal framework [sic]”. The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee had complained on May 5 that the video violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), and Manoj Kumar Meena, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the State subsequently ordered X to take the post down.

The same day, the Karnataka Cybercrime Division ordered X to take the post down, a move the ECI said was directed by Mr. Meena. “However, the post has not been taken down yet,” Anuj Chandak, a deputy director at the ECI wrote. “Therefore, ‘X’ is directed to take down the post immediately,” Mr. Chandak wrote. 

This video is one of three on this theme put out by the BJP recently. One other video posted by the Nizamabad, Telangana BJP candidate Arvind Dharmapuri on May 6 depicts the Congress leaders encouraging a Muslim getting on a boat and throwing SC/ST/OBC people out of the boat. The video remains on X and Mr. Dharmapuri’s post has racked up over 1,90,000 views. 

The first such video was posted by the BJP’s national handle on Instagram, and the party took the post down even as the social media firm’s parent Meta was reviewing reports against it, an individual aware of the company’s deliberations said. 

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