New Delhi, Nov 17 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi today came down heavily on Central ministers from her party for airing their personal views in public on critical national and international issues and directed them to strictly adhere to the party discipline.
''I want to make it absolutely clear to them that they have been given an opportunity to become ministers by the party though there are others who are equally capable of doing their job. Therefore, they have a special responsibility,'' she said in her inaugural address to the day-long AICC session.
Asserting that the party was supreme and it permitted internal debate on all important issues, she said all partymen must keep it in mind that they are not supposed to air contradictory views in public until the party had made known its stand. ''Once the party has made its stand known, they must not take a different position.
We will not accept anyone's personal opinion on important matters.'' Ms Gandhi was apparently referring to the recent controversy over Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh stating that Tourism Minister Ambika Soni should have resigned in the wake of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) affidavit in the Supreme Court over the Sethusaudram project, which the Centre later withdrew.
Ms Gandhi said ''the party is supreme. No leader or group is above it.'' The Central Ministers were accountable to party workers and they must be sympathetic towards the problems of the state where the Congress was not in government, she added.
Ms Gandhi said party office-bearers should also reach the workers and spend more of their time in districts and villages.
''Merely occupying important positions does not mean, central ministers and party office-bearers have accomplished their task, they have to work for strengthening the party at every level since the political challenge to us is becoming strong every day,'' she added.