Moily not removed from Congress media cell: Janardhan Dwivedi


New Delhi : Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, who has taken over as the party’s media cell head, Saturday denied that M. Veerappa Moily had been removed from the post, but hedged on whether he would resume the post.

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Hours after taking charge as the Congress media cell head, Dwivedi told reporters at the party headquarters here: “Moily has not been removed.”

He was reacting to reports that Moily had been sacked for his criticism of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is being viewed as a potential post-poll ally.

Explaining the change, Dwivedi said: “During the polls, I was given charge because I have earlier been head of the media cell, and then Moily returned after the Karnataka polls.”

“But the party said that polls are still pending in many states, so it has asked me to continue for some more time.”

“He (Moily) has not been removed from the post, but I have been made in-charge for the time being,” Dwivedi maintained, adding:

“No decision, no notification, has come from the party for his removal.”

Asked if Moily would resume the post after the poll results are declared May 16, Dwivedi was evasive, answering: “Maybe.”

Dwivedi replied in the negative when asked whether Minister of State for Industry Ashwini Kumar, who is also a Congress spokesperson, had been removed.

“Ashwini continues,” Dwivedi said.

Earlier Saturday, Moily had denied that he had been asked to step down, saying he had relinquished the post as part of a “temporary arrangement”.

“This is an internal temporary administrative arrangement of AICC (All India Congress Committee). Someone has played some kind of mischief,” he told reporters here.

Moily also said that his relinquishing the post had nothing to do with his comments on Nitish Kumar.

Moily said he had relinquished his post March 31 to concentrate on the Lok Sabha campaign in his home state Karnataka and that Janardhan Dwivedi was “temporarily” given charge.

After March 31, Moily has been conducting some of the daily media briefings of the Congress at its headquarters here.

Moily had Friday criticised Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar after he rebuffed overtures by the Congress, saying: “I do not think the Congress is going to make a hero of Nitish Kumar. The manner in which he has aligned with the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and is carrying on…that kind of pollutes his secular credentials.

“Nitish Kumar thinks too much of himself and will regret staying with the BJP. We are not reaching out to him. If he wants to be in the communal cauldron, it’s up to him.”

Moily has also reportedly rubbed United Progressive Alliance (UPA) partners Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) the wrong way, accusing them of “insulting” the party over seat-sharing in Bihar.

“We should be more angry. We never wronged them… Paswan (Ram Vilas Paswan of LJP) and Lalu-ji (Lalu Prasad of RJD), for reasons best known to them, they left us only two seats,” he had said.

In a similar incident in January, news came of the removal of then Congress spokesperson Satyavrat Chaturvedi after he termed Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh “a mental case”.