NEW DELHI/MUMBAI:On its 131st Foundation Day on Monday, the Congress party was hit by a mini internal quake. ‘Congress Darshan’, a mouthpiece of the party published from Mumbai, not only blamed Jawaharlal Nehru for the situation in Kashmir, and found fault in his Tibet-China policy, it also raked up incumbent party chief Sonia Gandhi’s pre-political past, describing her father as a ‘fascist solider’ of Mussolini’s regime. Needless to say, it left the central leadership red-faced.
Editor of the mouthpiece and Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam — clad in the Foundation Day costume, Gandhi topi and Nehru jacket — feigned innocence and apologised for being in the dark, but by evening had to sack content editor Sudhir Joshi.
The Congress mouthpiece, which was launched two months ago, carried Sonia’s colour photograph on its cover as the issue is dedicated to her achievements as the party’s longest-serving president.
One of the articles, a tribute to Sardar Patel on his death anniversary, states that Jawaharlal Nehru should have listened to his views on international affairs and that the relationship between the two leaders was strained.
It seemed as though the two-member team of Congress Darshan content editor Sudhir Joshi and his subordinate Narayan Bhambre simply downloaded material from the net, which was apparently published without editor Sanjay Nirupam vetting the copy, or so he told the leadership.
BJP, naturally, lapped up the controversy with Environment Minister Parkash Javadekar, a Maharashtra politician, calling it a belated acknowledgement of truth by the Congress -“satya darshan”, cryptically adding that Nirupam was known for writing in the same vein when he was in the Shiv Sena and edited its ‘Doopahar ka Samna’.
“If they (Congress) recruit leaders from other parties who don’t have credentials, they will face the same situation,” said senior Maharashtra minister Vinod Tawde.
Though as a damage control exercise Nirupam sacked Joshi, it did not help him as the party organ nowhere carries Joshi’s name as its content editor. Joshi was not available for comment.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was clear that the writer was not aware of history and had no knowledge of the conditions in which Nehru became the first Prime Minister and the challenges he faced, including eradication of poverty, when the need for two squares meals a day was difficult to meet in large swathes of the land, population, and India had to be pulled up to be food surplus, which eventually it did become.
One article said that despite the advice of then Deputy PM and Home Minister Sardar Patel to Nehru that China would be “unfaithful and a future enemy of India” (some letters were quoted), Nehru had extended the olive branch and transferred the lose governance hold that India had over Tibet, as a British legacy.
On Sonia Gandhi, another article said she made a transition from primary Congress membership to party presidentship in barely 62 days. And that her father had fought for the fascist forces in World War II and she herself had entertained hopes of becoming nothing more than an airhostess.
Darshan of Real Congress?
Party mouthpiece Congress Darshan blames Jawaharlal Nehru for state of affairs in Kashmir, China and Tibet, says he should have heeded Sardar Patel’s views on international affairs
Refers to 1950 letter by Patel cautioning Nehru against China’s policy towards Tibet in which he described it as unfaithful and a future enemy of India
Claims relationship between Nehru, Patel was strained despite latter getting Dy PM and HM post; says both had threatened to quit often
Cites allegations that Sonia’s father Stephano Maino was Italian fascist member who fought against Russians in World War II; adds that she registered as a Cong primary member in 1997 but became its president in just 62 days