MUMBAI: Articles in a Congress mouthpiece questioning Jawaharlal Nehru's China policy and calling Sonia Gandhi's father a "fascist soldier" today left the party squirming in embarrassment, forcing its editor Sanjay Nirupam to apologize and sack its editorial content in-charge.
One of the write-ups in Hindi journal "Congress Darshan" blamed Nehru for "the state of affairs in Kashmir, China and Tibet", while another made the controversial remarks about Congress president Sonia Gandhi's parent. Ironically, the focus of the latest issue of the magazine was the services rendered by Sonia to the party and her achievements since she took over as Congress president. It also had a colour picture of Sonia on the cover.
As the two unsigned articles in the journal published by by Mumbai Regional Congress Committee, left Congress in discomfort, Nirupam, who also heads the party's city unit, tendered an apology and sacked Sudhir Joshi, the man in charge of the magazine's editorial content. One of the articles, a tribute to the country's first home minister Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, had references to the "strained" relations between him and Nehru.
The article cited a letter Patel had purportedly written in 1950 to caution Nehru against China's policy towards Tibet wherein he had 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," the article went on to say. Another piece, which focused on Sonia, described her early life and her "ambition to become an airhostess". It termed her father a "fascist soldier" who, the article claimed, was a member of the Italian forces that lost to the Russians in the World War II.
"Sonia Gandhi's father Stephano Maino was a former fascist soldier," the article claimed and described her rapid rise in the Congress hierarchy. "Sonia Gandhi registered as a primary member of the Congress in 1997 and became the party’s president in 62 days. She also made an unsuccessful attempt to form a government," the article said.
Taking a serious note of the matter, Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Raj Babbar said in Delhi that it should be seriously looked into. "If something like this has come out in the Congress article, then AICC will take it up," Khurshid said. Nirupam, distanced himself initially from the articles, saying it was not he who had written them and voiced disagreement with the content.
"I do not agree with the article. It seems to have been sourced, but I don't know who the writer(s) is," said Nirupam but later admitted the "mistake".
"I admit the mistake. Inquiry will be initiated into the editorial department which committed the mistake. We will make sure that such a mistake is not repeated," he said. Maharashtra PCC chief Ashok Chavan told PTI that after Nirupam's apology it was for the MRCC to decide if a probe should be ordered into the faux pas.