Faced with frequent embarrassment due to leaders making controversial statements, Congress tonight virtually put a gag order on partymen, plainly telling them not to make remarks that are “not consistent” with the established stand of the party.
Sources said in a letter to partymen, senior leader A K Antony, who is Chairman of the Central Disciplinary action Committee of the party, said at the national level, only authorised spokesperson could speak on behalf of the party. This comes days after a controversial statement by senior leader P Chidambaram on the Kashmir issue and AFSPA which had prompted the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad to tell partymen to follow the party line.
In the letter, Antony said “It has been observed that some members have made contradictory statements to the media on the recent political developments in the country. While diverging views are welcome during internal party deliberations, making public conflicting opinion does not augur well for the party’s image. I request each one of you to avoid making any statements that is not consistent with the established stand of the party.”
He went on to add: “It is also suggested that respective general secretaries/in-charges speak on behalf of the party pertaining to matters related to their jurisdiction. “At the national level, only authorised/ spokesperson can speak on behalf of the party. This may please be noted and taken care of.” The letter is significant as party general secretary Digvijay Singh has often landed in controversies by making statements not consistent with the party line.