Congress ready for battle with Swamy on Herald

The Congress is ready to fight a battle on the National Herald issue legally and politically, and on all fronts, at a time when Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy and the BJP have come together to target the Sonia Gandhi led party.

This was made clear by Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi on Saturday shortly after reports that Dr Swamy had moved the Election Commission seeking derecognition of the Congress alleging that the party violated laws by providing a `90 crore loan to a company that published the nowdefunct National Herald newspaper.

Reiterating that the National Herald was not launched for commercial gain but was part of the freedom struggle, the Congress took a dig at the BJP for suggesting what comprises political work, saying that for some parties “spreading rumour and unrest” is political work.

Launching a hard-hitting attack on Dr Swamy and the BJP for their “propaganda of lies” and for “distorting” facts, Dwivedi rebutted the allegations point by point. “How can there be a commercial purpose, as alleged, when no interest was charged for the loan,” he asked.

Responding to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley's contention that a political party can use its funds only for political purposes, and not for business or financial activity, Dwivedi asserted, “Who will decide what political work is for any party? We will decide what is political work for us and not any other party. The BJP will not be allowed to decide what is political work for us. For some parties, spreading rumour and unrest is political work.“

“To promote Gandhi-Nehru thought is political work and to encourage the people, organisations and instruments working for the cause. We have discharged our political dharma because Associated Journals has worked to promote Gandhi-Nehru thought,” Dwivedi said.

Holding that the revival of the National Herald was an issue of great importance for the Congress, he said, “National Herald was established by Jawaharlal Nehru to give strength to the freedom struggle. Nehru was not only the leader of a party but the whole nation.” He pointed out that the revival of that newspaper has helped over 700 employees get their salary dues, provident fund and VRS benefits and wondered whether any other news organisation did all this for its employees.

Noting that questions have also been raised over a new company, Young Indian, floated to take over the functioning of Associated Journals, Dwivedi said, “An impression is being sought to be given that Young Indian has taken over Associated Journals and there will be a commercial venture now. The existence of Associated Journals (Pvt.Ltd) has not come to an end. Young Indian Pvt. Ltd has got the shares of it (sic). Any organisation can keep its existence (sic) as long as it serves the purpose for which it exists. Associated Journals is being made functional. That’s all.”

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