BJP will be wiped out in 2019; won’t allow NRC in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

KOLKATA: Launching a scathing attack against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Centre, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise will not be allowed in the state. She added that the BJP will be wiped out in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“We will not allow NRC exercise in Bengal. They (BJP leaders) are challenging us. If we are challenged, we will give them a fitting reply,” she said.

Referring to the recent panchayat polls in the state, she alleged that the party is resorting to politics of killing in the state.

“The BJP won just a few seats in erstwhile Maoist hotbed of Jangalmahal by resorting to politics of killing. The former CPI(M) goons are now working for them,” she said at a rally here on the occasion of Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (students’ wing) foundation day.

The chief minister also said that she would not “tolerate” if a citizen is wrongfully tagged a foreigner here.

“We are Bengal tigers, we will not tolerate if an Indian citizen is dubbed a foreigner,” she asserted.

Banerjee has been a vocal critic on Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft, calling it an attempt to isolate Bengalis, Biharis and Hindus out of the state.

“West Bengal will suffer because of this. There will be huge ramifications of this (Assam NRC). Where will these 40 lakh displaced persons stay? Bangladesh won’t take them back,” Banerjee had said after the release of the historic Assam NRC document, that had names of 40.07 lakh applicants missing.

Source: Zee News

In spite of a national uproar, BJP MP Gopal Shetty still questions the role of Christians in the Indian Freedom Struggle, says it’s a debatable topic and refuses to apologize or withdraw earlier statements

IndiaScoops.com Bureau | Mumbai, Jul 6: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gopal Shetty who is known for his controversial remarks in the past, tendered his resignation on Friday after he stirred a controversy calling Christians ‘angrez’ who have not contributed to the freedom struggle. The incident occurred on Sunday July 1 at Malwani in suburban Mumbai.

The MP from Mumbai North Gopal Shetty is heard saying in a video clip, which has gone viral: “Christians were British; hence they didn’t participate in the freedom movement. India was not freed by Hindus or Muslims, we fought as one, as Hindustanis for our independence.”

Also Read: BJP MP Gopal Shetty abuses Christians using very vulgar language, says they are useless, good for nothing…

Shetty defended his statements, and at first said he was misinterpreted. On Tuesday and Wednesday, as the news broke out in the local media, Shetty initially tried to say he was misquoted and misrepresented and his comments were twisted or reported out of context. Possibly Shetty and his advisers did not themselves understand or realize the meaning and magnitude of his statements. Or it was a subtle and clever trick, with Shetty trying to appease one community in the sensitive Malwani area.

Also Read: After drama, BJP MP Gopal Shetty withdraws his resignation, but refuses to withdraw his words, or apologize, Christians left fuming

But as his recorded speech video clip went viral nationally on Friday and mainline Tv news channels began playing the video clip, Shetty did a U-turn. His party bosses did not bat for him and a dejected Shetty came to understand what he said and what was being interrupted. He then claimed he had not said something that required him to apologize. He told media that the fact is that people from every religion contributed for Indian freedom. However, he expressed unhappiness that his party did not stand by him.

Also Read: Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh, Mumbai Congress strongly condemn BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s attack on Christians

Amidst rising national outrage, Shetty said he stood by his comments. “I just said Catholics may not be in freedom struggle because it was the British rule.” “I have my freedom of expression and this statement can be debated if needed. I have offered my resignation from MP post to Maharashtra BJP president and now it is up to the party. I do not want to embarrass my party,” added Shetty. 

Catholics in Mumbai who have a sizable presence  in various sectors in the city, including Education, IT services, Banking & Finance and Media have not taken kindly to Shetty’s utterances. “We are Indians first and foremost. Shetty called us ‘Angrez’ or British in a derogatory way. He said since we were British, we did not participate in the Freedom Struggle. Doesn’t he understand what he was saying. Either he is playing dumb or trying to be very clever. All he had to do is say sorry, but he has refused to apologize. In spite of a national uproar and condemnation from his own party colleagues, he has added fuel to fire, by stating that the Christian contribution to the Freedom Struggle is a debatable topic. We are clear about our demands -we want an unconditional apology, or else we will take this matter to it’s legal conclusion. Shetty as an MP is expected to be a very responsible man. His constituency which comprises of Malad, Orlem, Borivili, Poisar, etc., has a sizable well-educated Christian population and the community’s contribution to the education sector is clearly evident by the several Church and convent schools in Shetty’s constituency,” said Gerard Lobo, who first submitted a written complaint to the Malwani Police Station.

Also Read: Mumbai Christians file Police Complaint against Gopal Shetty for derogatory language against community, demand unconditional apology 

Shetty had made the controversial statement while addressing a gathering during the Eid-E-Milad program organised by the Shia Kabrastan Committee at Malvani in Malad in Mumbai on Sunday, July 1.

The Mumbai Congress hit back at the MP on Wednesday. “It’s clear BJP MP is not aware of history, or is purposely trying to create discord among members of one community with such communally sensitive utterances,” the Mumbai Congress tweeted.

Also Read: In Pics: Mumbai Congress, Mahila Congress protest rally on Friday, against Gopal Shetty’s comments

The Telangana Congress also took a dig at the BJP. “Official written orders were passed by the heads of RSS & Hindu Mahasabha asking their cadre not to participate in Indian Freedom Struggle & this is “BJP” History !!” the INC Telangana tweeted.

Mumbai BJP President and MLA from Bandra West Ashish Shelar told media that BJP does not support such statements and supports the Christian community. “Though the MP did not mean what he said, he has been asked to withdraw the statement,” Shelar added.

Two years ago, Shetty had stirred trouble for his party by describing farmer suicides as a “fashion”.

Elections 2019: In a run up to polls, BJP to spend over Rs 12,000 crore on Social Media, Ads and Digital PR in the next 12 months

BY PRANAV GHOSH | Mumbai | 26th May 2018: According to informed sources, media planners, social media experts, advertising industry professionals and election strategists, the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will spend over Rs 12,000 crore in the next 12 months in a massive build-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

IndiaScoops.com spoke to nearly 150 experts from various fields in India and abroad to arrive at these figures and the real picture is still more shocking. Of this figure, 50 per cent of the above amount of Rs 12,000 crore will be spent 3-4 months before the elections.

About 60 per cent of the total amount, or Rs 8000 crore is expected to be in black money or will be spent indirectly – not by the party – but by its well-wishers, party supporters and sympathizers and industrialists close to the BJP in a proxy digital war that has almost begun on social media.

Experts claim that about Rs 4-5000 crore will be paid abroad, from party supporters in the US, UK and Europe, but online campaigns will be directed at audiences and viewers in India.

A pro-BJP group in the US is creating about 500 new Facebook pages, 1000 Twitter accounts and about a 200-odd “news” websites, to peddle BJP  fare and propaganda to the masses which will targeted and directed at Indian viewers. Another similar group based in Canada is working in the same direction.

The BJP and its arms will employ about 7 lakh professionals pan-India to run its online campaigns, social media promotions and other related work like online poster and artwork design, etc., over the next 12 months. In the two months prior to the election, at least 10 lakh professionals will be employed full-time all over India in a massive digital war. An additional 20 lakh free-lancers and party workers will support this 7 lakh-plus digital army throughout the year.

Also Read: BJP hires more than 5000 IT professionals for final Karnataka Election salvo

2014 Figures

According to an article published in the Hindustan Times dated 20th April 2014, Media buyers and sources close to the BJP’s campaign said the party could end up spending about Rs 5,000 crore by May 12,2014, when the last phase of polling takes place. Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World, which is handling the BJP’s media planning, refused to say anything beyond “we are moving as per the approved plan”. This was in 2014, when the Modi wave was at its peak. This time in 2019, the BJP is much richer, much stronger and more desperate to win and will go all out to ensure a resounding majority like it got in 2014.

But a veteran media planner, who is working closely with the BJP, told HT on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media: “Planned spends on all media, including print, television, outdoor, internet and radio would be close to Rs 4,500 crore. The party has set aside an additional Rs 500 crore, which will be used, based on need, to beef up the campaign in critical constituencies and states in the last few days of campaigning.” This is on record and the figures quoted are from industry experts. It does not include the local spend by MPs and their supporters as well as third party sympathizers and “well-wishers”.

According to an article in The Hindu dated 19th April 2014, Anand Sharma, former Union Commerce Minister in UPA 2,  was quoted as saying, “The use of money and resources by the BJP in these elections is unprecedented. At least Rs. 10,000 crore is being spent by the party to project only one person.

On TV, the BJP bought about 2,000 spots a day across Hindi, English and regional news, general entertainment and sports channels. A spot in most popular entertainment channels cost about Rs 80,000 per 30 seconds. The budget: Rs 800-1,000 crore. It spent another Rs 150 crore during the T20 World Cup. The online and radio budget is about Rs 35 crore, the same HT article dated 20th April 2014 had claimed. Asked to comment on its ad budget, a senior BJP leader said, “The expenditure would be about Rs 700-750 crore.”

“The BJP’s spending is at least four times that of the Congress,” said Santosh Sood, former COO, Rediffusion Y&R, a media buying agency. This time in 2019, it is expected to be 6 to 8 times that of the Congress, senior politicians claim.

Government & Election Commission Spending in 2014

According to a PTI report dated 16th March 2014, the projected expenditure to elect the 16th Lok Sabha is set to rival the USD seven billion (approximately Rs. 42,000 crore) spent by candidates and parties in the 2012 US presidential elections.

A study carried out by Centre for Media Studies on poll spendings says “unaccounted for” money pumped in by “crorepati” candidates, corporates and contractors has pushed up the expenditure to elect 543 MPs.

Out of the estimated Rs. 30,000 crore, the exchequer will spend Rs. 7000 to Rs. 8000 crore to hold the electoral exercise for the 16th Lok Sabha.

While the Election Commission is likely to spend around Rs. 3,500 crore, the Union Home Ministry, Indian Railways, various other government agencies and state governments will spend a similar amount to put in place means to ensure free and fair poll. In 2019, the figure is likely to go up by at least 25 per cent.

According to an article in FirstPost dated 5th March 2014,  BJP and Congress are planning to spend Rs 400-500 crore on an ad blitz, and the parties organisations could end up spending another Rs 500-1,000  crore for other forms of campaign-related expenses – banners, hoardings, organisation of public meetings, transport of key campaigners by helicopter or chartered flights, etc. Assuming the smaller regional parties together spend as much as the Congress and BJP put together, we are talking of total party spends in the region of Rs 2,000-4,000 crore.

Add the candidate spends,  and general election 2014 will cost anywhere from Rs 10,145 crore to Rs 17,000 crore for the parties. Add the Election Commission’s own expenses and the cost of deploying forces to ensure a free and fair poll, we should be looking at a total democracy cost of anywhere from Rs 11,000-18,000. In 2019, experts estimate the total expenses of Lok Sabha 2019 to be in the range of Rs 30,000 crore.

Modi Govt Ad Spend in 3.5 Years

The Modi government spent a whopping Rs 3,755 crore on its publicity in three-and-a-half years till October this year, a reply to an RTI query has revealed recently.

The expenditure on advertisements from April 2014 to October 2017 on electronic and print media and outdoor publicity is Rs 37,54,06,23,616, according to the reply given by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Again these are official figures. The unofficial figures including monies spent by well-wishers and party friends is almost double this amount.

BJP hires more than 5000 IT professionals pan-India for final Karnataka Election online salvo

The BJP party and its National IT cell has hired over 5000 IT and social media professionals on a pan-India basis for a massive final online salvo against its opponents, particularly the Congress in a run-up to the Karnataka elections.

It must be mentioned here that this additional workforce of over 5000 skilled professionals is in addition to the already existing huge IT team that the BJP party employs and even pays for. For its online and social media campaign for the Karnataka elections, IndiaScoops.com has learnt that the BJP has employed well over 25,000 dedicated IT workers all over India, who are working day and night to promote the BJP ideology, PM Narendra Modi’s initiatives and  and counter the Congress digital offensive.

According to reliable sources in the BJP IT cell, the additional army of  about 5000 workers has started working since the 1st week of May and will continue till 12th May for a period of 10 to 12 days. Most of them (who are not from the State) are working from their own homes, using their own hardware and infrastructure, while about 10 per cent of this workforce is stationed at Election Offices of the various BJP candidates across the State.

Initially, during the last week of April, an over-confident BJP IT team was taken aback with the Congress IT cell’s online blitzkrieg, led by former actress and Congress MP and now Congress IT cell head Divya Spandana aka Ramya. Spandana’s team unleashed a massive volley of digital posts that outsmarted the BJP online.

Stunned by the onslaught, the BJP top brass led by Amit Shah and Narendra Modi decided on the acquisition of an additional, emergency IT work force to supplement and complement the efforts of the existing BJP IT cell.  The new army does not report to the main boss Amit Malviya, but instead follows his footsteps from a discrete distance. In fact, till about a few days ago, Malviya himself was not aware of the existence of a new digital army. Modi and Shah wanted the new army to work completely independent of Malviya’s team and do their own work, silently and secretly.

The techies are being paid Rs 1500 to Rs 3500 per day, depending on their capability and hours of work. Super professionals or online campaign managers who are tasked with the job of motivating and co-ordinating with others in their teams are being paid Rs 5000 per day. Each individual is expected to work a minimum of 8 to 10 hours per day from home using his or her own laptop (or computer) and internet connection. There are at least 200 new Photoshop experts who are tasked with the job of creating digital memes and digital posters or designs praising the work of the BJP government in states where it is in power.

This army of digital professionals creates new, fake Facebook IDs, Pages, Groups and Twitter handles and share the posts and tweets emanating from official BJP sources and IT cell members. Each member has also been tasked with the job of creating a fake Facebook and Twitter ID and roping in friends (and friends of friends)  from his/her own friend list and then anonymously influencing them using digital tools, to vote for the BJP.

With the Karnataka Assembly elections just days away, on 12 May, the election campaigns of various political parties have gained momentum in the state and all parties are leaving no stone upturned to win the race.

The state is crucial for the Congress as Karnataka is one of the party’s last bastions. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is vying for a comeback in the state after it was defeated by the Congress in the 2013 Assembly elections in Karnataka. Faced with dwindling prospects in Uttar Pradesh, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is also eyeing a victory in the upcoming elections in Karnataka.

According to a post in The National Herald (NH), the battle for votes in Karnataka is being fought at many levels. On the ground it is an epic clash between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. In cyberspace a proxy war is waging between the two national parties led by two lesser-known warriors—Amit Malviya and Divya Spandana, the brains behind the social media attack forces of the BJP and the Congress. The sheer ferocity of the online combat is almost incredible. It is almost a non-stop carnage in the sky with unrestrained verbal allegations aimed at influencing the voters, says the NH.

But the Congress is still lagging far behind. The BJP has thousands of workers that outnumber the Congress team several times over. For every one Congress cyber warrior, the BJP has 5. The ratio of Congress to BJP cyber warriors as of today is 1:5.  Maybe, as the BJP is ruling in several States and has huge coffers and almost unlimited funds, it can afford to pay many more workers than the Congress can. But Rahul Gandhi and his core team must somehow find the funds to pay thousands of cyber professionals if he wants to win the cyber war against the BJP. Numbers count. Even if you run paid campaigns on social media, without actual or physical clicks, the campaigns won’t take off.

Unlike campaign rallies on the ground by candidates and leaders, the cyber war may be silent and invisible, but the impact is tangible and undeniable. The novelty factor of virtual world warfare makes it difficult to measure by conventional yardsticks. But the general impression is that the Congress is winning the Twitter war, whereas the BJP is still ahead in the WhatsApp platform.

On Facebook the latest indications are that the Spandana army has gained the upper hand over the Malviya brigade, claims the National Herald. What is really new about the high-tech warfare is that back in 2014 it was one-sided, with the Congress presence on social media virtually non-existent.

But this time is so different that that BJP party bosses are said to be sorely disappointed with Malviya and his team and are even thinking of a major re-staffing after the Karnataka elections to put up a better performance on the road to 2019. Is Malviya going to be kicked out after the Karnataka Elections? Watch this space for more…