With two of its senior leaders slugging it out in the open during a condolence meeting in Chhattisgarh, the Congress has called for restraint from both of them in view of the tragedy that struck the party in the state last month.
Sources said former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi and party general secretary Digvijaya Singh have been advised not to escalate the matter further.
At Thursday’s condolence meeting in Raipur for party leaders killed in last month’s Maoist attack, Jogi made a scathing but indirect remark at Singh, saying “outsiders coming from Fatehgarh, Pratapgarh and garhs” cannot help the Congress in Chhattisgarh but only leaders belonging to the state will ensure its welfare.
The remark was directed at Singh since he belongs to Raghogarh in Madhya Pradesh.
Singh, a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister too, responded by saying that Chhattisgarh had always respected outsiders and cited the example of slain leader Uday Mudaliar.
The tussle prompted an immediate intervention from the central leadership. “There is a gag order on me. Hariprasad has asked me not to speak to media on this issue,” Jogi told HT.
BK Hariprasad is Congress general secretary incharge of Chhattisgarh.
When asked about the war of words between the two leaders, Jogi said he had made the remarks at an internal party meeting.
In the past too, Jogi has had a tiff with party colleagues. Jogi and Hariprasad snapped at each other at a party training camp in Bilaspur in October 2012.
Harip rasad had ticked off slogan-shouting workers and asked them to maintain discipline. An annoyed Jogi was quick to retort: “This is a Congress camp. Instead of workers, it is leaders who need some training.”