The Congress has issued a directive to as many as 100 of its functionaries, including All-India Congress Committee office bearers, Congress Working Committee members, heads of AICC departments and officials of frontal organisations, asking them not to speak out of turn.
The directive follows a television interview given by the Congress general-secretary Digvijay Singh in which he spoke about the Maoist issue.
Party leaders were asked to restrict themselves to their own areas of responsibility while interacting with the media or speaking publicly.
“Restrict yourself to your area of responsibility and do not speak out of turn,” says a circular issued by party general-secretary and media committee chairman Janardhan Dwivedi.The circular has created a stir, as in the recent past such restrictions were imposed verbally and not in writing.
Mr. Digvijay Singh had asserted during the interview that his controversial article in a newspaper criticising Home Minister P. Chidambaram's handling of the Maoist problem reflected the party's policy, sources in the party said. At the time the article was written – about two months ago – the Congress had officially distanced itself from the views expressed in it, with Mr. Dwivedi instructing party men not to air their views publicly on issues that were not part of their responsibilities.
In the interview, Mr. Singh said he did not regret his article and that it was “more of a comment on a friend.” He then said: “Don't you make a comment on your own friend?”