Controversy mars Congress Foundation Day celebrations

SansadTV Bureau
Cong Foundation Day new

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi with Janardan Dwivedi after hoisting the party flag during the 131st foundation day of Congress party function at AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Monday. PTI Photo

Even as the Congress celebrated its 131st anniversary, the party faced an embarrassment as a couple of articles criticising former PM Jawaharlal Nehru and party chief Sonia Gandhi cropped up in the party’s journal in Mumbai.

One article slammed Nehru’s policy on Kashmir and blamed him for “the state of affairs in Kashmir, China and Tibet”. Another article alleged that Sonia Gandhi’s father was a “fascist soldier”.

Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam who is also the editor of the journal, was left red-faced when he ordered an inquiry into the incident. He claimed that he was unaware of the content that was printed as he was not involved in the day to day functioning of the journal. The journal’s content editor Sudhir Joshi has been sacked.

Both the articles were published in this month’s issue of ‘Congress Darshan’ Hindi edition as a tribute to the country’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabbhai Patel on his death anniversary on December 15.

One of the articles stated that Nehru should have embraced Patel’s views on matters of international affairs.

The article cites a letter that Patel purportedly wrote in 1950 to caution Nehru against China’s policy towards Tibet and in which “Patel described China as unfaithful, and a future enemy of India.”

“Had Patel been heard (by Nehru) then, the problems of Kashmir, China, Tibet and Nepal wouldn’t have existed now….Patel opposed Nehru’s move of taking the Kashmir issue to the UNO,” stated the article, adding, “Nehru did not agree with Patel’s views on Nepal.”

Another article, which focused on the Congress President said that “Sonia Gandhi’s father Stephano Maino was a former fascist soldier”. The write-up also describes how quickly Sonia rose to the position of party president.

“Sonia Gandhi registered as a primary member of the Congress in 1997 and became the party president in 62 days. She also made an unsuccessful attempt to form a government,” the article said.

Nirupam who is also Mumbai Regional Congress Committee chief admitted the mistake and apologised for it.

“I admit the mistake. Inquiry will be initiated against the editorial department which committed the mistake. We will take measures that such a mistake is not repeated,” Nirupam said.

“I do not agree with the article. It seems to have been sourced, but I don’t know who the writer (s) is,” he added.

Congress leaders in Delhi too took notice of the issue.

“If something like this has come out in the Congress article, then AICC will take it up,” Khurshid said.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad slammed the writer and claimed that he had no knowledge of the conditions under which Nehru became the first PM.

On the other hand the BJP claimed that similar remarks about Nehru have been made in the past.

“Many of Nehru’s close friends have written books mentioning that the course of events in Jammu and Kashmir would have been different had it been left to the then Home Minister (Patel),” said Union Minister Jitender Singh.

(With inputs from PTI)