Almost a week after the fiasco over two controversial articles in Congress’ Hindi mouthpiece Congress Darshan, the party is yet to retract or recall the two articles in question.
“I have tendered an apology to the party high command. Whatever was the discussion between me and them, I wouldn’t like to talk about it,” Sanjay Nirupam, who is still the editor of the issue, told The Sunday Guardian. He refused to answer if there was any demand for his resignation.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders have questioned the Congress’ silence on the matter. “If they think the articles are erroneous, why haven’t they withdrawn them yet? There is no official retraction as yet,” a senior BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, said.
When asked about it, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “Sanjay Nirupam is handling all of this. You will have to ask him.” Subsequent to Nirupam’s initial conversation with The Sunday Guardian, he did not respond to calls or messages.
Meanwhile, there is an eerie silence on the matter in the Mumbai Congress. “This is a matter between Sanjay Nirupam and the party high command. We can only say that the matter is over for us as Nirupam has apologised,” said Narayan Rane.
But another leader, Naseem Khan has been vociferous in seeking his resignation. Some party leaders have written to Sonia Gandhi seeking Nirupam’s resignation. Some leaders are of the opinion that an insider is responsible for leaking the information to the media. People close to Nirupam said it was a conspiracy from someone within the Congress to frame Nirupam.
“Only 100-150 copies of the issue are generally printed. The December issue in Hindi was published around 9 December. It is only now that this somehow reached the media. It needs to be seen how this issue was delivered to a few media persons. Who did it?” asked a political leader.
The December issue of Congress Darshan in Hindi carried two articles —one on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and another one that claimed that Sonia Gandhi’s father was a “fascist soldier”. Both the articles didn’t have any byline.
The leak led to the sacking of content coordinator Sudhir Joshi, who claimed responsibility for writing the articles, and said he was sacked as the editor didn’t like them. Nirupam, on the other hand, tendered an apology and said the incident will be inquired into.