Keep it clean, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi told party spokespersons on Monday, urging them not to stray beyond the boundaries of party ideology — and, above all, to remember that as members of Mahatma Gandhi’s party, there was need to ensure the public discourse remained dignified. Else, the leadership might be forced to take action against errant partymen.

“Spokespersons and TV panellists may have their individual views, but as party spokespersons and panellists you have to stay within the party line,” Mr. Gandhi said, stressing, “We cannot go beyond party ideology. Those who go beyond will be noticed and action will be taken.”

Former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi said Mr. Gandhi made these remarks while inaugurating a two-day workshop for party spokespersons and TV panellists ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

Mr. Gandhi’s warning came on a day when the party distanced itself from the remarks made by general secretary Shakeel Ahmed and MP Rashid Masood that the 2002 Gujarat riots led to the formation of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen: Mr. Ahmed, of course, pointed out that he was simply repeating what the National Investigation Agency had said in a charge sheet.

When party leaders from Gujarat pointed out that the Narendra Modi government was disseminating wrong information, Mr. Gandhi said other people “may be spreading lies, but we will rely on the truth.”

The meeting is being attended by 200 young and experienced party workers, including five from each State, 16 from the NSUI and the Youth Congress, apart from the national spokespersons and TV panellists.

The party will also unveil its social platform, “Khidki,” for spokespersons, encouraging them to use it as a window of opportunity, besides giving them lessons on the dos and don’ts of the electronic media.

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