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New Delhi: With Karnataka going to its first phase of elections on 18 April, the BJP’s state wing Monday posted an old fake letter on Twitter to claim that former Congress president Sonia Gandhi had planned the division of Lingayat community to win elections.

The letter, dated 10 July 2017, was purportedly written by Karnataka’s home minister M.B. Patil to Gandhi.

The BJP alleged that the Congress in cahoots with Patil’s Bijapur Lingayat District Educational Association (BLDEA) had masterminded the division of Lingayats in Karnataka.

“Congress exposed. The entire Lingayat & Veerashaiva community division was planted under direct instruction of Sonia Gandhi,” BJP’s Karnataka wing tweeted from their official handle @BJP4Karnataka.

The post has over 1,800 likes and 1,467 retweets.

“The letter written to Sonia Gandhi by Congress leader MB Patil exposes shocking details of how Sonia Gandhi wanted to divide Hindu communities in Karnataka,” it further tweeted.

The letter read: “The unanimous opinion is that in order to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it is essential to curb the RSS growth in Karnataka and defeat BJP in 2018 Assembly elections.

“This can be achieved by uniting the Muslims and Christians on the basis of their faith: divide the Hindus on the basis of caste/sub-caste and sect and sub/sect,” the letter said.

“To achieve this objective, it was decided that we use the difference prevailing in the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community and announce sops for Muslims and Christians in our budget and later in the election manifesto,” it said.

While detailing the strategy to be adopted, the letter elaborated on how the Lingayat division will put “RSS in a tight spot.”

“Without the Lingayat support, the BJP cannot win,” it stated.

The fake letter was first published by Right-wing propaganda website Postcard News. The website’s co-founder and editor Mahesh Vikram Hegde was arrested last year for allegedly spreading fake news.

Also read: This image of religious harmony seems to be a favourite of political parties to misuse

Reality check

The letter was published on Postcard News ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections in May 2018. After the news went viral on various social media platforms, Postcard News deleted it the very next day.

Patil had hit out at the website then and even threatened to file a lawsuit against it.

“When I saw the story I was enraged. They have scanned a copy of the letter head of my organisation BLDEA and my signature. It is gross lie by the website and all to tarnish mine and Sonia ji’s reputation,” Patil had told BOOM, a fact-checking organisation, last year.

Also read: Rebel AAP leader Alka Lamba sees empty chairs at a BJP rally that wasn’t

In collaboration with SM Hoaxslayer.

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