Don't use media to give suggestions to party: Cong to leaders

Don't use media to give suggestions to party: Cong to leaders

With recent statements from the likes of P Chidambaram, Digvijay Singh and HR Bhardwaj leaving it red-faced, Congress today issued a gag order asking its leaders to "desist" from using the media to give suggestions to the party.

"All leaders should desist from giving their suggestions and views to the leadership publicly when there are various platforms within the party where they can put forth their viewpoints," AICC general secretary and the chairman of its communication department, Ajay Maken, told reporters here.

The Congress leadership gives its leaders ample scope for airing their views on various matters and putting forth their suggestions for the betterment of the party, Maken insisted.

"They should save their suggestions to give those to the leadership directly when the high command holds discussions with them. They are senior leaders and, in the larger interest of the party, should eschew airing such views publicly when the party has provided them with adequate platforms to do the same," he said.

Maken, however, said that the direction was of a general nature and "applicable to all leaders" as he refrained from taking the names of any specific persons whose comments might have prompted the party to issue the gag order.

Sources, meanwhile, said that statements by leaders like Chidambaram, his son Karti Chidambaram, and Singh and Bhardwaj on various matters, including those related to Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, have not gone down well with the Congress leadership.

Urging Rahul to be more "hands-on" since "I don't think he is now, not totally", Singh, a Congress general secretary, had said "But he has to lead. Almost everyone in the country is waiting for the leadership to draw up a roadmap and tell the cadres what to do. All are prepared to fight it out."

Chidambaram had raised a storm by suggesting that former Finance Minister Manmohan Singh should have put his foot down and cancelled the 2G licences. He has also said he had suggested to the UPA government that the 2G licences be cancelled once the scandal had emerged.

Bhardwaj, a known Gandhi family loyalist, has pitched for a leadership role for Priyanka in Congress saying that Rahul is not capable of attracting crowds.

Asked how Rahul fared, Bhardwaj had said, "When I was in Karnataka, I saw Rahul is not capable of addressing a mass audience. He would meet 50 university and college students and leave. That's the basic difference."

Such remarks are not isolated. Ever since Congress lost power at the Centre following its massive defeat in Lok Sabha polls, controversial comments have come from several of its leaders.

AICC had to distance itself a number of times from the statements of its leaders, including of Shashi Tharoor, who was removed as the Congress spokesperson after he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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