A day after the Congress opposed the appointment of former Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam as Kerala Governor, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari struck a discordant note saying there is “no constitutional or legal bar” on his appointment. A red-faced Congress swung into damage control mode rejecting Tewari’s views and publicly asking him to toe the party line.
Hours after Tewari contradicted senior spokesperson Anand Sharma, who at a party briefing opposed the appointment of Sathasivam, the Congress said, “What Anand Sharma has said is the official party line… Whatever Manish Tewari has said is his personal view.”
Sources said the media department may write to Tewari expressing its displeasure over his remarks.
“Whatever spokespersons say from this podium is the official party view,” Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza said addressing the media at the AICC headquarters. Tewari is an authorised television panelist of the party. Oza said Tewari was a panelist and not a spokesperson and naturally he has to articulate and “toe” the party line.
AICC communication department secretary Tom Vadakkan said a panelist’s duty is to participate in debates. “Panelist is somebody who attends television debates. He does not intervene or give opinions on matters. He is given an official line for discussion. That ends there. The spokesperson is the voice of Congress party and that is the line,” he said.
Arguing that there is no constitutional or legal bar in the appointment of Sathasivam, Tewari pointed out that in the early 90s, the Congress had brought former CJI Ranganath Misra to the Rajya Sabha from Orissa.