New Delhi | Taking exception to party leader Janardhan Dwivedi’s praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress today hinted that disciplinary action could be taken against its senior-most general secretary. 69-year-old Dwivedi, however, contended that he had not praised Modi and he was being misquoted.
What Dwivedi has said is totally opposite to the Congress’ idea of Indian-ness….The victory of Modi can by no stretch be the victory of Indian-ness, Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken said at a press conference here. Slamming Dwivedi, who not long ago was the Chairman of the AICC Media department, Maken said that the party condemns his remarks in the strongest possible words.
If one sees the seven-month rule of Modi as the Prime Minister and the 2002 riots in Gujarat, when he was the Chief Minister, Modi can never become the symbol of that Indian-ness, said Maken, who is also the head of AICC Communication department. He said that in the last seven months of President’s rule in Delhi, which saw Modi government running the show, witnessed several incidents of violence including in Trilokpuri and Bawana.
How can anyone be talked of as symbol of Indian-ness under whose leadership the national capital witnesses such incidents and whose Ministers speak objectionable language and not being proceeded against? Maken asked. Dwivedi’s remarks are being lapped up by BJP leaders in the midst of the keenly contested Delhi Assembly polls and has left the Congress red-faced.
Replying to questions, Maken made it clear that the top party leadership will soon decide on the disciplinary action against Dwivedi. Later Dwivedi, however, contended that he never praised Modi. I have never said Modi is a symbol of Indian-ness, he said.
Asked whether Dwivedi’s remarks were indicative of friction with the party’s leadership, Maken said the remarks are not against any individual but against Congress’ ideology. It is totally different from the ideology, stand and thinking of the Congress party. It is totally opposite the thinking of the Congress party, he said.
Maken evaded questions whether the party had sought prior clarification from Dwivedi before condemning his remarks and hinting that action will be taken against him. Indicating that he has been talking to the media following green signal from the top, Maken, who is known to be close to party vice president Rahul Gandhi, said Whatever I am saying is in my capacity as general secretary in charge of the communications department.
Seeking to rebut Dwivedi, he quoted profusely from Indira Gandhi’s address at Kashi Vidyapeeth in January, 1970 on ‘bharatiyata’ or Indian-ness. He recalled that the late prime minister had said, to me Indian-ness implies a positive duty to understand and honour other points of view in consonance with the injunction that the ways to truth are many. Gandhi had also said, on the banks of the Ganga thousands of years ago, our sages proclaimed that the world is one family.
Addressing the media separately, soon after the AICC briefing, Dwivedi suggested that he was a victim of improper understanding of what he had said and the intention behind his remarks.
Dwivedi ducked questions on whether he sees a conspiracy behind what has been reported against him and if he had given any explanation to the leadership. You know I never talk about internal party matters. Asserting that he has been grossly misquoted, the senior Congress leader, who was also a professor, said that in his first book itself he had written that Mahatma Gandhi, Prem Chand, Ram Manohar Lohia, Suryakant Nirala, and Pandit Nehru symbolised Indian-ness.
He said with its noble tradition and it leading the struggle for freedom, Congress has remained a symbol of Indian-ness. Asked whether Sonia Gandhi epitomises Indian-ness, he replied in the affirmative saying that the Congress president represents the party. He sidestepped a question on whether he would continue in the post in the light of the party condemning his remarks.
Dwivedi said that what he had stated in an objective analysis was that the election results of 2014 was not the victory of Modi or BJP but defeat of Congress. He had reportedly said that Modi and BJP succeeded in projecting that they were closer to the Indian people and presented their victory as that of Indian-ness. The voters felt like that.
The Congress leader said that BJP’s victory has ushered in a new time which has brought forth a very big challenge for Congress and there is no scope for any misunderstanding over the issue. As Dwivedi’s interview created speculation over his future course of action, he made it clear that people like him do not change their thought and loyalties. If such a time comes, I will keep away from partisan politics.
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