New Delhi, June 9: After tying itself in knots, Congress today tried to wriggle out of the controversy over four union ministers going to the Delhi airport to meet Ramdev, stating that the editorial in the party mouthpiece disapproving the move was “personal views” of its editor.
Sensing that the editorial could trigger a fresh row amid Opposition's allegation that the party and the government were not on the same page in dealing with the Ramdev issue, Congress first tried to stop the circulation of the latest issue of ‘Congress Sandesh' on Thursday.
After a meeting of senior party leaders, it was finally decided to release the journal with a rider that the contents did not reflect the views of the party.
Senior minister Pranab Mukherjee, Kapil Sibal, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay had met Ramdev on June 1 at Delhi airport to persuade him to drop plans to go ahead with his indefinite fast on June 4 but the Baba had not relented.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh as also the journal's editor Anil Shastri had voiced reservations over the airport meetiing, reflecting what was seen as a divide between Congress and the government on the issue.
“It is true that whatever is published in party mouthpiece is considered party's opinion. Hence the editor of the Congress Sandesh has been told not to put his personal views in its editorial”, AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, who is also head of the AICC Media Department, told reporters here.
Dwivedi said “an editor does not have the right to give his personal opinion in the editorial. If he has any personal opinion concerning any issue of the party, he should not give it in the editorial.”
Asked whether any disciplinary action was being taken against Shastri, who is also a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee, he said that was not required as he has been asked not to place his personal views in the editorial. To a query whether Congress Sandesh will be having a new editor, Dwivedi retorted, “You are going too far”.
In his editorial, Shastri had wondered:” Was it necessary for four ministers to go to airport? The government has a duty to respond to the demands of the civil society but it must be done in a way that does not compromise the dignity and the rightful authority of an elected government”.
Shastri had earlier in his tweets disapproved the move while Digvijay said he was “saddened” by government's decision.
Dwivedi's statment on the issue is being seen as an attempt to put a lid over the controversy and project a united face. PTI