A day after Congress leader Gourav Vallabh taunted Shashi Tharoor over his probable AICC president poll bid, the party on Friday urged all its spokespersons and communication department office bearers to refrain from commenting on any colleague contesting the elections.
In the first indicator of leaders taking sides in the upcoming contest for the top post, Vallabh had also voiced support for another contender, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who many believe has the backing of the current leadership.
According to sources, AICC general secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh, in a message to all spokespersons and office bearers of the communication department, said, "I would strongly urge all spokespersons and office bearers of Communications Department of AICC to refrain from making any comment of any kind on any colleague of ours contesting the elections for the post of Congress president."
"We all have our individual preferences but our job is to only highlight that the Congress is the only political party to have a democratic and transparent system in place for election to the post of its president," he said.
Ramesh told the spokespersons and office bearers of the communications department that their job is to highlight that the Congress is the only political party in India to have an independent election authority to conduct organisational elections, the sources said.
"A person wanting to contest needs no nod from anybody to do so except from 10 PCC delegates for filing nomination form. The election authority ensures free and fair elections.
Spokespersons have to ensure that elections are seen to be free and fair," Ramesh said. "If elections have to be held on October 17th so be it. We welcome it. Even so the focus of the entire party organisation should be and indeed is to make the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which has already evoked tremendous response even more of a resounding success," the sources quoted the Congress general secretary as saying in his message.
Vallabh is also a party spokesperson but he asserted his comments were as a Congress worker and not spokesperson.