Sanjay Nirupam, president of the Congress party’s Mumbai unit, apologised on Monday for the criticism of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and party president Sonia Gandhi in the party’s Maharashtra mouthpiece, ‘Congress Darshan’.
“Some words used in some articles of ‘Congress Darshan’ are certainly objectionable. I accept my mistake,” Nirupam, who was appointed the Mumbai Congress head in March, said.
Nirupam said he was not involved in the day-to-day functioning of the magazine and was unaware of the articles.
Articles published in the Hindi edition of this month’s ‘Congress Darshan’ said Sonia Gandhi’s father was a member of the fascist forces in Italy and that she became the Congress president 62 days after becoming a party member in 1997.
Another article suggested that Nehru should have listened to freedom fighter and former home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s views on international affairs. Both these articles did not bear the name of the writer.
Left red-faced by the articles, a section of the Mumbai Congress came down heavily on Nirupam and sought his apology and resignation over the issue.
A former senior journalist and the editor-in-chief of the publication, Nirupam also promised to take action against people in the editorial panel who are responsible for the mistakes after issuing an apology.
“We shall also ensure that such mistakes are not repeated in the future,” Nirupam said.
Soon after, PTI reported that the content editor of the journal, Sudhir Joshi, was sacked.
The controversy erupted on the day as the Indian National Congress -- founded on December 28, 1885 -- celebrated its 130th anniversary.
“We should never forget that abusing Sonia was in the DNA of Nirupam ever since he was with Shiv Sena,” a Congress leader from Mumbai said.
Another leader said on condition of anonymity: “A leader with journalistic skills (Nirupam) can never be so casual, and prima-facie it looks like that he himself has published this article, which is a deep embarrassment to all party cadres.”