The Trinamool Congress (TMC) scored another same-side goal on Saturday by trying to prove that the CPI(M) and Congress follow double standards. The party's all-India spokesperson Derek O'Brien, also an MP from Rajya Sabha, called a press meeting in Kolkata to show some videos and photographs to expose the electoral alliance between the Opposition Left and Congress.
Within a few hours, one among those photographs was removed and the TMC tweeted, saying: "We showed two videos and six photographs. One of those photos was morphed through photoshop and we removed it as soon as we came to know about it." [Phase 4: Do-or-die for BJP]
In the videos that O'Brien ran in his office, Congress vide-president Rahul Gandhi was seen speaking for and against the Left in Kerala and West Bengal, both of which are going to polls this year. He then also showed some photographs and one among them was about senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh feeding sweets to former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat. [Congress exposes Mamata remarking "TMC and BJP natural allies"]
যে মুহূর্তে আমদের রিসার্চ টিম জানতে পারে একটি ছবি ফটোশপড ছিল, তৎক্ষণাৎ সেটি সরিয়ে দেওয়া হয় (২/২)— AITC (@AITCofficial) April 23, 2016
[The tweet said: "We showed two videos and six photograps in today's press conference but the moment our reserach time got to know that one photo was photoshopped, it was removed".]
The photograph went viral but soon it was known that the photograph was doctored. Other sources said the real photograph was about Rajnath feeding sweets to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. O'Brien later apologised saying his party's research team had taken the photo from Internet but they removed it as soon as they learned about it. [Bengal media's disappointing coverage of this poll]
Damage was already done by a ridiculous act
But the damage had already been done by then. The Opposition lashed out at the TMC saying it tried to divert the attention from the corruption charges against it. The ruling party was also accused of trying to influence the voters in the middle of an election and warned about moving the Election Commission on the issue. The BJP also expressed its discontent and warned of taking legal steps against the TMC. They also mocked Derek O'Brien saying he did a great disservice to his supremo Mamata Banerjee.
According to cyber experts, such acts could invite fine and even imprisonment.
Ambikesh Mahapatra, a university professor who was arrested by the state government in 2012 for forwarding a cartoon involving Mamata Banerjee and two other TMC leaders---Mukul Roy and Dinesh Trivedi---said O'Briend should be arrested for showing morphed pictures. Mahapatra is contesting this year's election.
TMC lacks common sense? Or is it too casual?
This entire episode shows to what extent does the TMC lack common sense. It is difficult to believe that the party's research team, if there is any at all, picking up photos from the Internet with an aim to expose the Opposition. Do those dealing with online stuffs have no idea about the repercussions they could face or are they too casual?
TMC leaders claim themselves to be tech-savvy---and this is what they do
The TMC leadership tries time and again its tech-savvy side through posts and interactions on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. And then it does such childish acts? It is even more surprising that Derek O'Brien---one of the polished leaders that the TMC has in its ranks---didn't give it a serious thought before undertaking such a ridiculous mission.
Or was his sense of reason restricted by the culture of sycophancy rampant in the TMC?
Expecting BJP offering sweets to Left is far too stretched
The BJP is too smart a party to display an act of offering sweets to a Left leader. The TMC should have remembered that the BJP and Left are so distant ideologically that the possibility of the leaders of the two side greeting each other publicly is almost nil (unless it is a private function of any leader but even then seeing the BJP and Left leaders feeding sweets to each other is near to impossible).
The TMC may also revive the memory of Jyoti Basu and Atal Bihari Vajpayee joining hands, but those are exceptional moments. Today, the stakes are so high (particularly for the BJP) that witnessing a Sitaram Yechury and Narendra Modi on the same stage is nothing less than daydreaming.
Hasty actions have always been Mamata Banerjee's weakness
The TMC leadership must give the reality a chance before taking hasty steps. But having said that, patience is the least quality that Mamata Banerjee is known for.