In the Congress, where top leaders are often accused of not being communicative enough, the senior brass is torn over the issue of leaders talking on behalf of the party in public.
Minutes after the AICC communication department chairman Ajay Maken put out a list of the 18 spokespersons and tweeted that only they are “authorised” to speak, former Union minister Manish Tewari hit back, saying he does not require a “noun or an adjective”— indicating a formal party position — to participate in public discourse.
Another senior leader Rashid Alvi echoed similar sentiments and said “Congressmen should not fight and humiliate each other.” Inside the party circle, the latest round of infighting is seen as a part of an old rivalry between different factions.
While Tewari was the information and broadcasting minister — spearheading the government’s propaganda machinery — Maken headed the party’s publicity division. None of them, however, could deliver the desired results for the party.
“I ceased to be the national spokesperson in 2012. When I intervene in the public discourse I do so as an ordinary worker who served the party for 34 years,” Tewari tweeted.
Alvi, who was unceremoniously removed as a national spokesperson, said “I always defend Congress party as an ordinary worker and I will continue to defend Congress party. I feel it is my responsibility as this is a very crucial time as the communal forces have not only taken over the country but are spreading communalism.”
While a section of the party is furious over the “gag order”, another Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad insisted that there is no gag order.