Congress chasm: Party cautions members about comments before media

New Delhi, Sept 5: A gag order was issued by Congress on Friday in the wake of the deepening chasm between its old guard and Team Rahul that saw the two sides target each other over the drubbing which the party faced in Lok Sabha polls.

In a stern message, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told both the seniors and juniors in the party to refrain from giving advice publicly through the media. Dwivedi, who is the general secretary in-charge of Organisation, issued the advisory a day after 14 young Congress secretaries wrote a letter to him attacking the senior leaders for going public with "negative" comments.

Dwivedi has forwarded their letter along with his advisory to all general secretaries, members of the Congress Working Committee and senior leaders. Controversy had erupted after party general secretary Digvijay Singh's recent remarks that Rahul Gandhi's silence on critical issues had contributed to their loss in the "war of perception" and that he should have spoken more.

The young secretaries close to Rahul have interpreted it as an attack on the Congress vice-president. Dwivedi himself had made certain comments prescribing an age limit for Congress leaders for taking active posts within the party. Those remarks, too, came in for criticism from some leaders.

In the letter, Dwivedi said: "I am enclosing a letter from 14 Secretaries of the AICC who have expressed concern over the public statements of some senior Congressmen regarding affairs of the party which in their view harmed the interests of the organisation. "I am sure that all colleagues will take their views with due sensitivity. I am issuing separate letters to them also advising that in future they should refrain from giving such advice publicly through the media."

Dwivedi's letter is an advice to both party elders and the Congress young Turks. The latter had yesterday freely vented their ire before the media over remarks by some senior leaders following the Lok Sabha poll debacle. Dwivedi's letter seeks to bring to an end to the acrimony.

Rahul, who was on a visit to his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi yesterday, had also sought to downplay the rift. "There are multiple voices in Congress and all these voices will bring a solution for it. There are always these types of tensions and we will deal with them," Rahul had said when asked to comment on the infighting within the party.


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