NEW DELHI: It was Zee News, Times Now, News X yesterday. It is the Trinamool Congress and its vocal leader Derek O’ Brien who even held a press conference to release his “favourite” picture that he said proved that the BJP and the CPI(M) were “two sides of the same coin.”

He was so thrilled about this disclosure, that many reporters who attended the interaction are now positive that he too was made a monkey of by those who had replaced Prime Minister Narendra Modi being fed a laddoo by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, with former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat.

There was hilarity all around when the CPI(M) and the BJP, both shocked, issued denials and a shamefaced TMC removed the photograph that was occupying pride of place from its website, and O’Brien posted a denial admitting thereby that he is perhaps not that clever after all.

The BJP released the original photograph. The CPI(M) described this as a “grave crime” and filed a case with the Delhi police against the TMC and O’Brien.

Karat told The Citizen that the TMC and its spokesperson had posted a “fabricated photograph of Rajnath Singh and myself. It was intended to portray the CPI(M) and myself in a bad light as we have some underhand dealings with the BJP. These are desperate tactics adopted by the Trinamool Congress facing increasing opposition in West Bengal.”

This rushed press conference was intended to counter the Opposition claim, substantiated in a 2001 video, where West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is heard referring to the BJP as a “natural ally” of the BJP. The TMC has become the butt of Opposition attack on the basis of this, and hence O’Brien rushed to use the morphed video to discredit the CPI(M), its main rival in the state.

This comes in the wake of reports of a Left-Congress resurgence, which may or may not carry it to victory, but is certainly sufficient to challenge the TMC rule in the state.

The ease with which O’Brien accepted the morphed photograph, that would have been questioned by even a political reporter as the content is so unlikely, carries with it dangerous portends. Morphing seems to have become a political trend, carrying with it serious and dangerous consequences.

In 2014 a morphed photograph/video widely distributed on mobiles as well, caused a communal conflagration. It was eventually found to be an old video, of another country altogether, but not before the damage was done. No action was taken against the offenders, in fact a BJP leader responsible for distributing this was felicitated.

More recently morphed videos aired by top Television channels had young students being arrested on sedition charges, journalists being beaten, and a vicious nationalism versus anti-nationalism debate feeding into an atmosphere of hate speech and threats. The videos were found to be morphed at the instance of action taken by the Delhi government, and again no action has been taken against those responsible for this.