New Delhi: Against the backdrop of
conflicting voices emerging from the party over the issue of
caste census, Congress today said both the government and the
party are on the same page on the issue.
"There may be various views by party members but the
stand of the party and the government will be same," Congress
spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters.
She also said the party does not endorse ministers
publicly airing their views on the matter when it has already
been referred to an Empowered Group of Ministers.
"We do not endorse that. The party view is clear. When
the Prime Minister has already given a clear opinion and
direction into the matter, discipline should be maintained,"
Natarajan said when asked how does the party view various
ministers speaking either in favour or against caste census.
She also referred to the statement of AICC media
department in-charge Janardan Dwivedi, who had disapproved of
Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken shooting off a
letter to young MPs asking them not to support the idea of
To a question on whether the party supports air strikes
against Naxals, Natarajan said, "The party has no opinion on
it. Government fully empowered to take a decision on it."
On the issue of the Maoist violence in West Midnapore,
where a train sabotage in the Naxal terrain caused huge
casualties, Natarajan said the party`s stand on the issue is
that "we should wait for the investigation report."
She, however, ducked a query on why Railway Minister
Mamata Banerjee is saying that Maoists are not involved. "I
speak for the Indian National Congress as its spokesperson,
not for Trinamool Congress," she said.
Natarajan said people have a right to their views but the
"government and the party has a certain position on it."
To another query, she rejected allegations that film
director Prakash Jha was harassed for his film `Raajneeti` in
which Katrina Kaif`s role is said to bear resemblance to
Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
"We do not believe in the muzzling the right of freedom
of expression. We stand strongly for it. The film has got a
U/A certificate (unrestricted public exhibition with parental
guidance for children below 12 years), which speaks for
itself," she said. Natarajan said the Censor Board has experts
from various fields.
To another question, she dismissed suggestions that
British Queen Elizabeth`s decision not to visit India for the
Commonwealth Games this year is any reflection on the security
scenario in the country, saying it is the sovereign right of
any government to decide on its programmes.
"I don`t think it is any reflection of security situation
as such," she said.