The BJP said on Monday that a hidden “truth” was now out in the open as the Congress party tried to shrug off embarrassment following the publication of articles critical of its president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Jawaharlal Nehru in its Maharashtra mouthpiece.
Rubbing salt in the wound of former Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam, who is the editor of the journal, Union minister Prakash Javadekar “congratulated” him. Javadekar said the Congress leader was known for such write-ups when he was the editor of the Hindi edition of Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’.
Nirupam, who was in the Sena before he joined the Congress, is also the president of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee, which publishes the magazine ‘Congress Darshan’.
Though initially Nirupam sought to wash his hands off the controversy by claiming he had nothing to do with the articles, he later admitted the “mistake” and sacked the content editor.
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 just 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.
“The Congress journal which is named Congress Darshan should be called ‘Satyarth Darshan’ (sight of truth). It is significant that it has come on the 131st foundation day of the party. Sardar Patel had maximum support in the Congress to become the prime minister but Gandhiji proposed Nehru.
“Patel merged 562 provinces into India and Nehru was in charge of only Kashmir and it remains a problem. Patel had warned about China’s betrayal on Tibet... This is not BJP or Javadekar saying so but the mouthpiece of Congress. What Congress had been hiding has come out. I congratulate Sanjay Nirupam,” Javadekar said.
He also wondered if Nirupam had done a copy-and-paste work by lifting some article he might have written for Saamana earlier.
As Congress sacked the content editor, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma mocked the move, saying it showed the party’s “intolerance against truth” as most of what had appeared was a “matter of fact”.
For its part, the Shiv Sena too “congratulated” Nirupam for “telling truth” to the nation.
“We must congratulate Sanjay Nirupam for his boldness to tell the truth about the party’s (Congress) icon (Nehru), though this could be a factor of embarrassment for that party,” said Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande.
Faced with the controversy, the Congress distanced itself from its “defunct” mouthpiece in Mumbai.
“We have nothing to do with this publication. It was a defunct magazine that was trying to revive. That is not our mouthpiece. We have nothing to do with this publication. This magazine has not been associated with Congress,” party spokesperson Tom Vadakkan told reporters.
Accusing Nirupam of brining “disgrace” to the party on the occasion of its 131st Foundation Day, former minister Naseem Khan demanded his ouster from the post.
“The kind of terminology used in compiling the articles was derived from the dictionary of RSS. I demand senior party leaders to take this issue very seriously and conduct a detail inquiry by relieving (Sanjay) Nirupam from the post,” said Khan, who had held several important portfolios in the previous Congress-led governments.