Congress today distanced itself from party leader Janardan Dwivedi's remarks that people in politics should not continue in active posts beyond 70 years of age even as another party leader Digvijay Singh backed him. "Let me make it clear. This is his view and he is certainly entitled to it.... This is not the party view. This is not the party stand. This is his personal opinion," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in reply to a volley of questions on the issue.
His refrain was the same when asked whether Dwivedi's statement reflected that Congress wants to follow BJP's model of creating "old age home" for senior leaders, a taunt directed at the ruling party by Congress when it dropped L K Advani, MM Joshi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee from Parliamentary Board. Asked whether any disciplinary action will be taken against Dwivedi on the issue as was taken against another party leader Jagmeet Singh Brar, Singhvi termed it "totally uncomparable comparison".
To a specific question on whether the party considers Dwivedi's remarks as "breach of discipline", Singhvi said, "These are your views. I am not saying anything of this sort". To repeated queries as to what is the party stand on the matter, he said, "The status quo prior to the statement remains. Party's stand is the status that remained prior to this view". A senior party leader speaking on condition of anonymity said that the sentiment expressed by Dwivedi were not improper but it is not feasible to have any specific cut offs in a large party like Congress.
Party general secretary Digvijay Singh, speaking separately, backed Dwivedi saying that "change is the law of nature". Singh, who has generally been at odds with Dwivedi, recalled that in the Burari AICC sesssion 2010, he had pitched for a generational change in the party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. "I had said the same thing in Burari session. Congress party always gives opportunity to the youth. Change is the law of the nature. In the modern management lexicon, it is called succession management. "It should happen at every level from top to bottom. I am in favour it. It is high time for major changes in the organisational structure," Singh said. The conflicting views in Congress have been aired at a time when there is a likelihood of a generational shift in the party to take on a resurgent BJP.