Sanjay Nirupam gets a reprieve, sets his sight on 2017 city polls

Mumbai Congress chief can now finally put the recent magazine controversy behind him as the party’s disciplinary panel has given him a clean chit in the matter

It’s a happy birthday indeed for Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, who turned 52 yesterday and confirmed that the party’s disciplinary panel had given him a reprieve in the recent magazine controversy in which the party’s mouthpiece ran injudicious articles on party’s icons Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and current national president Sonia Gandhi. Nirupam is the editor of the magazine.

The party’s vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, had given Nirupam a clean chit during his tour of Mumbai in January
The party’s vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, had given Nirupam a clean chit during his tour of Mumbai in January

This paper broke the story about the December issue of the Mumbai unit’s mouthpiece ‘Congress Darshan’, which suggested that Nehru was to blame for the Kashmir, China and Tiber conflicts, while another article alleged that Sonia’s father was a fascist soldier (‘Nehru botched Kashmir issue’, December 28). This reporter had also pointed out that the magazine had carried similar articles in the previous edition in November. In that issue, articles took digs at Nehru, and took potshots at Indira’s “troubled marriage”. Nirupam had vowed to not repeat the mistake in future, and immediately sacked Sudhir Joshi, a part-time content editor and journalist at the magazine. Nirupam had also tendered a public apology over the issue.

It was a foregone conclusion that he would not face any action after the party’s vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, gave him a clean chit during his tour of Mumbai in January. However, a disciplinary panel headed by senior leader AK Antony had asked Nirupam to explain why the articles were published. Nirupam confirmed that the panel has accepted his apology. “I haven’t changed my position; from my heart, I have been saying this was a mistake,” an elated Nirupam told Sunday mid-day.

Although many city leaders had called for Nirupam’s resignation, the clean chit means he can now continue as the president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC).

In the days to come, Nirupam said his priority will be to install a Congress mayor in next year’s city civic polls. “Rahulji was very specific in telling Congress workers and leaders that they should put up a united front to win the Mumbai elections. I expect all my seniors and junior colleagues in Mumbai Congress to strengthen the party,” he added.

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