Mouthpiece blooper: Ugly scene avoided at Congress meet
Congress workers had arrived prepared to attack Sanjay Nirupam over the anti-Nehru story in party mouthpiece; stopped because of Pathankot attacks
Had senior leaders not thought of cancelling an official function at the city Mumbai Congress' office in view of terror attacks in Punjab, the scene there would have been different on Saturday afternoon.
Sources said Congress workers belonging to various factions in the city unit had come prepared to rake up the issue of a controversial story on Nehru-Patel feud that had appeared in its mouthpiece, Congress Darshan, last month. Workers who hold city Congress president Sanjay Nirupam responsible for the blooper that had caused irreparable embarrassment to the party high command wanted to raise questions against the chief, while others who have been defending Nirupam were all prepared for giving their adversaries a fitting reply.
The function was organised to felicitate newly-elected MLC Bhai Jagtap. And when senior leaders, who command clout, arrived at the venue they were cheered vociferously by their followers, said eyewitnesses. The cheering went on as more leaders made appearance at the venue. Congress insiders said that a large section of party leaders and workers have been waiting for an opportunity to settle scores with Nirupam faction after 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 six-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 Gandhi’s father a fascist soldier.
Some leaders, who were present at the party’s office on Saturday, told SUNDAY mid-day that good sense prevailed only after Nirupam himself declared that the event had been cancelled and, instead the party would pay tributes to security personnel who laid their lives fighting terrorists in Punjab on Saturday.
"Nirupam tabled the proposal and ex-city Congress president Gurudas Kamat seconded it. All of us paid our respects to the martyrs before leaving the venue," said a Congress leader, requesting anonymity.
"Jagtap’s felicitation, if carried forward as scheduled earlier, was bound to create further ripples in the party because many leaders and workers had come prepared to fan the recent controversy even further, some way or the other," said the leader.