Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam has got a reprieve with the party accepting his apology over the publication of controversial articles slamming Jawaharlal Nehru and terming Sonia Gandhi’s father a “fascist soldier” and asking him “to be careful in the future”.
“Sanjay Nirupam accepted the responsibility for publication of grossly inaccurate, baseless and malicious article against the Congress leadership in the party magazine -- ‘Congress Darshan’ -- and submitted his unconditional apology for the same.
“The Central Disciplinary Action Committee, while accepting his apology, cautioned him to be careful in the future while editing, printing and publishing materials in ‘Congress Darshan’ so that this type of grave mistake is not repeated,” sources in the party said.
Left embarrassed by the articles criticising Nehru’s policies on Kashmir and China, Congress had last month issued a show-cause notice to the magazine’s editor Nirupam.
The AICC disciplinary action committee, headed by A K Antony, HAD issued the notice to Nirupam, a former Lok Sabha member from Mumbai and one of the party’s popular faces, in the second week of January.
Nirupam, a former Shiv Sena man, had been given “a few days” to respond. Days after the Nirupam responded, the party on Saturday cleared the air.
The show-cause notice had come despite an apology from Nirupam, and Congress already having distanced itself from its “defunct” mouthpiece. The show-cause notice to Nirupam was issued just days ahead of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visited Mumbai on January 15 and 16.
Congress had then said the party had appointed Nirupam as MRCC chief and not editor of any magazine. One of the party spokespersons, Tom Vadakkan, had gone to the extent of even disowning ‘Congress Darshan’, saying “we have nothing to do with this publication. This magazine has not been associated with Congress.”
Sudhir Joshi, the editorial content in-charge of the magazine, was sacked soon after the articles became public.
The party was left red-faced on December 28, the day Congress was celebrating its 131st Foundation Day, when unsigned articles appeared in its mouthpiece blaming Nehru for “the state of affairs in Kashmir, China and Tibet”.
Another write-up in ‘Congress Darshan’ had said party president Sonia Gandhi’s father Stephano Maino was a former “fascist soldier”. Soon after the controversy broke, there had been murmurs questioning Nirupam’s “intention”. A former Shiv Sainik, Nirupam rose fast through Congress ranks after joining the party.
Some Mumbai Congress leaders, including AICC General Secretary Gurudas Kamat, had met Sonia after the controversy and complained about the matter.