New Delhi: In a signal that out-of-turn remarks will not be tolerated, Rahul Gandhi on Monday warned that those who go beyond the party line will face action.
"Spokespersons and panelists may have their individual views, but as party spokespersons and panelists you have to be within party line. We cannot go beyond party ideology. Those who go beyond will be noticed and action will be taken," Gandhi said.
Former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi said that the party vice-president made these remarks while inaugurating a meeting of party spokesmen and panelists at a time when Lok Sabha elections are less than a year away.
Gandhi`s warning came on a day when the party disapproved of the remarks of party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed and party MP Rashid Masood that the 2002 Gujarat riots had led to the formation of the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM).
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, Union ministers Beni Prasad Verma and Jairam Ramesh have at several times been ticked off by the party leadership for their controversial remarks on various issues.
Gandhi also wanted partymen to be "very decent" in the language at a time when the trend of indecent language was catching on on the social media.
"We cannot do that. We are party of Mahatma Gandhi," the Congress vice-president is reported to have told the meeting.
Madhya Pradesh police have registered a case against Digvijay Singh for his alleged "insensitive" tweet on children posted while the sodomy charges against former finance minister Raghavji came to light recently.
The complainant had underlined that the tweet of Singh in which he allegedly wrote "Baccha Baccha Ram Ka Raghavji Ke Kaam Ka" has hurt the majority community.
When party leaders from Gujarat noted how Narendra Modi`s government dissiminates wrong information, Gandhi said that people may be spreading lies, but we will rely on truth. "We have to seek the truth," he said.
The meeting addressed by Gandhi is being attended by 200 young and experienced party workers including five from each state, 16 from NSUI and youth Congress besides AICC national spokesmen and media panelists.
It is to showcase the achievements of the party to the people and take Congress view point to them on various issues.
The two-day media conclave of Congress is aimed at toning up its communication strategy in states in the run up to the assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
At the meeting, the party will also unveil its social platform "Khidki" for spokespersons from across the country encouraging them to use it as a window of opportunity besides giving them lessons on the dos and don`ts of electronic media.
The programme also features round-table discussions in ten groups organised for spokespersons from states and NSUI and Youth Congress representatives on a host of current topics.
Jaitley slams Congress
Meanwhile, charging Congress with trying to communalize the 2014 elections, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Monday said the ruling party "is doing so to deflect the agenda as it is faced with both the crisis of governance and lack of leadership".
The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha also hit out at Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed for seeking to "rewrite" history by his "desperate attempt to communalize the issue of national security" on his remarks on the birth of banned terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen and linking it to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
"Faced with both the crisis of governance and a lack of leadership, UPA`s desperate strategy appears to be to deflect the agenda. Under no circumstances must the destruction of `The India`s story` by UPA be allowed to occupy the centre stage of the electoral agenda.
"UPA has, therefore, only one option left. Communalize the polity in the country and change the electoral agenda. All those who want to throw UPA out of office must understand that their focus must remain on the issues of governance which UPA will try to duck," Jaitley said in an article.
On Ahmed`s remarks on IM, the BJP leader said "the Congress Party`s spokesman has sought to re-write history. His effort is to somehow paint Indian Mujahideen as an organization of the aggrieved who are victims of riots in Gujarat. He ignores the international context and Pakistan`s strategy behind the creation of Indian Mujahideen. This is yet another desperate attempt to communalize an issue of national security."
Jaitley said Congress`s conventional strategy has been that whenever they "fail" at governance it goes back to the last resort — the alleged charisma of Congress Party`s first family, which "appears inadequate".
"The outgoing leadership of UPA is perceived to be ineffective; the incoming are perceived to be non-leaders," he said.