Left hugely embarrassed by articles in a party mouthpiece that were critical of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sonia Gandhi, Mumbai Congress on Tuesday said their publication and leak to media could be the "handiwork" of "saboteurs" within the city unit.
"Yes, the party leadership has been briefed about the suspicion that the inclusion and leakage of the articles which cast Nehru and Sonia in poor light may have been the handiwork of saboteurs and disgruntled elements within the Mumbai unit," Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) sources said.
A senior All India Congress Committee (AICC) leader said the issue is being treated as closed by the party’s central leadership after it was satisfied with the explanation put forth by the Mumbai unit, the source said.
Asked if any internal inquiry has been initiated to determine how such a faux pas happened, the source said, "The editorial content coordinator has been sacked and the matter has ended there."
However, state party spokesman Anant Gadgil said the publication of the article on Nehru appeared to be part of a "deliberate campaign by certain elements" in Indian politics to "propagate" that the relationship between Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had been antogonistic.
"It looks a deliberate campaign by certain elements in Indian politics to create a picture that there was a dispute between Nehru and Patel," Gadgil told reporters in Pune.
The publication of the articles ahead of Congress’ 131st foundation day caused a major embarrassment for the party as they questioned Nehru’s policy on Kashmir and China and claimed that Sonia Gandhi’s father was a ‘fascist soldier’.
MRCC chief Sanjay Nirupam, who is also the editor of Congress Darshan, had on Monday apologised for what he described as an "irreparable mistake".
Sources close to Nirupam said his rivals leaked the contents of the in-house magazine to the media to target him.
Nirupam has already sacked the publication’s editorial content coordinator Sudhir Joshi, a freelance journalist.
Congress Darshan was launched during the tenure of Kripashankar Singh as Mumbai party chief from 2007-2011 to sensitise partymen about the party’s policies and rich legacy.
The journal was discontinued four years ago before being revived by Nirupam, a former journalist himself, this year.
"I decided to revive the Hindi edition two months ago.
The first issue was brought out in November," Nirupam said.
"Earlier, we thought of translating the content published in the Marathi edition but Joshi expressed an interest in contributing independent articles," Nirupam said,
The editorial board of the journal would be revamped, Nirupam said, adding, he would now personally monitor the content.