Sena past comes back to haunt Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam
Articles slamming the Congress, written by Sanjay Nirupam in his Sena days, are now being used by party leaders to question his loyalty and demand his removal as the party’s Mumbai chief
Mumbai Congress head Sanjay Nirupam’s past has come back to haunt him after the recent embarrassment caused to his party by the controversial articles against Jawaharlal Nehru and Sonia Gandhi in the Congress mouthpiece helmed by him. A veteran party leader has now written to the top bosses, questioning the loyalty of politicians like Nirupam, who were given important posts after they defected to the Congress from other parties.
Veteran Congress leader and chairman of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Sevadal, Chandrakant Dayma questioned the loyalty of leaders such as Sanjay Nirupam, who hail from an anti-Congress background
mid-day had broken the story about the injudicious articles in the December issue of the Hindi mouthpiece of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC), ‘Congress Darshan’. A 6-page essay by an unidentified author suggested that the party icon and country’s first PM, Nehru was to blame for the Kashmir, China and Tibet conflicts, as he did not pay heed to the advice of fellow freedom fighter and former home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (‘Nehru botched Kashmir issue’, December 28). In addition, another article labelled party president, Sonia’s father a fascist soldier.
Several of Nirupam’s past articles in the Sena’s Hindi mouthpiece are being circulated within the Congress. This article, for instance, carries the headline ‘Ab jheliye Soniaji ko’
Now, similar articles Nirupam had written during his stint as the editor of Shiv Sena’s Hindi magazine, ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’, in which he had vehemently slammed the Congress and Sonia, is being circulated among Congress workers. A compilation of his articles — that appeared with his byline and photograph — is being used against him.
Chandrakant Dayma, chairman of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Sevadal, issued a statement criticising leaders, who are involved, directly or indirectly, in causing embarrassment to the party. He also forwarded a demand for Nirupam’s removal to top bosess Sonia Gandhi and Rahul, as well as the party’s Maharashtra in-charge, Mohan Prakash, and the Congress Seva Dal headquarters in New Delhi.
“The material which the BJP and others are using to defame Nehru has been used in the Mumbai Congress mouthpiece. The Mumbai president did not deem it fit to verify whether the content suits the Congress ideology. He was not aware of the blunder even after this content was published. The members of the editorial board too did not find time to check the articles,” Dayma told this paper yesterday.
Dayma said the Seva Dal officials had met to approve a resolution in this regard, and all of them had signed the application for Nirupam’s sacking, which was sent to party’s high command on Tuesday, a day after this mid-day broke the story.
It’s not surprising that this happened, said Dayma, since leaders like Nirupam come from an anti-Congress background. “If they think tendering an apology will suffice in this matter then they are wrong,” said the veteran Congressman, adding that such leaders should not be given powers to run the party and distribute election tickets, a power Nirupam has for the BMC polls.
Interestingly, one of the leaders to whom Dayma has sent this demand — Mohan Prakash — had also defected to the Congress some years ago. Dayma has taken a strong objection to appointments of such leaders (although he didn’t name Prakash) in crucial positions like the state in-charge. He has asked the party high command to instead appoint those who have been part of the Congress throughout their life. “It is unfortunate for the party loyalists, who strive all their lives, but do not have any say in party matters,” he said.
‘I can’t change my past but I’m loyal to Congress’
Nirupam told mid-day that he could not change his past, but has been loyal to the Congress ever since he joined the party, and that he was being targeted selectively by his detractors.
MRCC chief Sanjay Nirupam said he could not change his past, but has been loyal to the Congress ever since he joined it in 2005. File pic
“I have already apologised and accepted the mistakes in the mouthpiece. I have also taken a corrective action by sacking the person responsible (part-time content editor Sudhir Joshi). I regret to say that the people who call themselves loyalists have dragged party president Sonia Gandhi’s name into the issue and have conspired to cause embarrassment to the party on its Foundation Day,” he said.
“I’m going through a loyalty test each passing day. I revived the Congress in Mumbai by reaching out to every nook and corner of the city. People who are running this campaign (against me) should understand that they are weakening the party by these inane tactics. They should end the matter now,” he added.
On the matter of his past anti-Congress articles now being circulated, Nirupam said the same tactic had been used against him when he had joined the Congress in 2005. Congress workers had dug up a series of editorial pieces and columns in ‘Dopahar ka Saamna’ with Nirupam’s photo and byline, which strongly attacked Sonia Gandhi, in particular. Some of Nirupam’s pieces comment on how Sonia transformed the Congress into a party with a Christian identity and made it an Italian outfit. Another article chides Sonia’s attempts to gain control of the country.
“I had written those edits and columns as part of the policy of the newspaper I worked for. I don’t deny that. I cannot change my past, but I’m loyal to the Congress party. My 10 years in the party have been very fruitful. In the last 10 months, I have worked hard to revive the Congress in Mumbai,” said the MRCC chief.
“The same material was circulated to the voters in the Mumbai North constituency from where I successfully contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2009. They are doing it again, this time to embarrass the party. Are such people loyal to the party?” he questioned.