TMC to launch social media campaign to counter BJP's attack on COVID-19 crisis in WB

Under constant attack from the BJP for "mishandling" the COVID-19 crisis in West Bengal, the TMC said it has decided to launch a strong counter-

attack against the saffron party by reeling out data and videos to highlight "dismal performance" of the BJP-ruled Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in tackling the pandemic.

Attacking the BJP's strategy was planned during a series of online meetings of the TMC top leadership with a select group of MLAs and poll strategist Prashant Kishor since Sunday night, TMC sources said on Monday.

It was decided to launch a social media campaign to counter the BJP's campaign of "lies" against the state government regarding the COVID-19 situation in West Bengal, they said.

The TMC leadership and Kishor asked leaders to counter the BJP's lies by using data, videos and statistics of the saffron party's "dismal performance" in the BJP-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, the sources said.

On Sunday, the number of coronavirus cases in Madhya Pradesh rose to 3,614 and in Gujarat the cases climbed to 8,195.

After a close fight with the BJP in the general elections last year, the TMC hired Kishor to boost its chance in the 2021 state polls.

The BJP had secured 18 out of a total of 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, only four less than the TMC, which won 22 in the 2019 general elections.

The TMC leadership is all set to start the social media offensive to counter the BJP's "lies and fake news" from Wednesday, the sources said.

"A mass campaign would be launched on social media, which will include use of video news conferencing. Promotional videos, various schemes and short presentations bearing statistics will be circulated on social media platforms, including WhatsApp.

"We would play recorded messages of local administration and MLAs, particularly in the non-containment zones of coronavirus on the steps taken by the state government to check spread of the contagion to nail the BJP's lies," a senior TMC leader told PTI on condition of anonymity.

The development comes in the backdrop of the Bharatiya Janata Party recently launching a social media campaign with #BhoyPeyechheMamata, (Mamata is scared) to highlight the "state's dismal performance in handling the COVID-19 situation and absence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the last few days from the scene".

The Trinamool Congress has responded by using #BhatBokcheBJP (the BJP is blabbering baseless allegations).

"We have been told by the leadership to stay away from the state-run ration distribution system and just ensure that no one is deprived of the free ration given by the state government," the TMC MLA said.

The TMC government in West Bengal and the BJP-led Union government have locked horns since the beginning of the pandemic, with the Centre accusing the state government over its COVID-19 response and enforcement of the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of the disease.

The Trinamool Congress has dubbed the allegations as "baseless and politically motivated".

The war of words between the two escalated after the Centre sent two teams from Delhi to assess the COVID-19 situation in the state. The TMC government had strongly protested their arrival without consulting them beforehand.

More recently, a letter from Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last Saturday, charging the state of not allowing the trains to ferry native migrants to their home, served as another strong flashpoint between the two political adversaries.