Spokesman vs spokesman reveals internal rift in Congress | India News

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Jun 9, 2020

NEW DELHI: In Congress, it is “spokesman vs spokesman” over critical remarks by its media face Sanjay Jha alleging listlessness in the party.
A day after Ajay Maken reacted to Jha’s comments in TOI by suggesting that he share his grievances with the member of the top AICC “consultative group” with whom he recently authored a newspaper column, former Union minister Manish Tewari hit back by saying that Jha owes his promotion and media recognition to Maken’s indulgence. Tewari also insinuated that his own experience was ignored for long during the appointment of spokespersons post-2014 and asserted that a joint column with Jha did not mean he agreed with his personal views.
As Jha’s remarks triggered a row, AICC spokesman Maken on Sunday referred to the newly-formed “consultative group”, which includes former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi, as the go-to panel for grievances and suggestions. “I know well there are many in the consultative group who are very close to Jha and Jha had written a joint column a few days back in TOI with one of the members. Why does not Jha speak to them? If he does, it would be brought in the group’s meeting with Rahul Gandhi,” Tewari said.
Jha co-authored a piece with Punjab MP Manish Tewari, who is part of the consultative panel, a month ago.
Viewing the remark as a cheap shot at him, Tewari told TOI, “Jha has been speaking for the INC on television since 2011 Anna agitation. He was formally given the Congress platform to address the media in January 2014 when Maken was the chairman of the AICC communications department.”
“He was subsequently elevated as national spokesman in March 2015 when I was appointed only as a media panelist despite having been the I&B minister till 2014,” he added. The present communications department chairman Randeep Surjewala was appointed to the post in 2015.
Tewari said, “If successive chairmen of the communications department promoted Jha, I can hardly be condemned if he co-authored a piece or two with me that fiercely critiqued the Modi government. It does not imply I necessarily agree with all that he writes on his own — and he writes quite a bit.”

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