Snubbing leaders like Digvijay Singh, who have spoken on the Bhopal gas issue, the Congress on Tuesday virtually told them not to poke their nose in others' affairs.
"It is an established organisational norm that all the persons, who are holding posts of responsibility in the party, if they have to say something publicly or interact with media, they should speak on only those subjects which come under the areas of their responsibility," party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
Dwivedi, who is also chairman of the AICC media cell, told reporters that this was a "clear view and directive" of the party.
The AICC directive comes at a time when the Congress is facing consistent attack by the Opposition and activists on the Bhopal gas issue.
Soon after the court verdict was out, a number of Congress leaders, including AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, CWC member Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Congress veterans Vasant Sathe and R K Dhawan spoke on the issue, with some of them even contradicting each other, embarrassing the party.
Party sources also indicated that this rule applies not only for Bhopal gas tragedy, but also to all issues in which some of the leaders voiced their individual opinions without consulting the party.
The party's statement assumes significance as Singh had earlier publicly objected to the handling of the Naxal issue by Home Minister P Chidambaram.
Incidentally, Singh, who is the AICC in-charge for Uttar Pradesh, has invited displeasure for the second time, after the party had disassociated itself from his comments on the Naxal issue, which he had expressed in a newspaper article.
Party sources today said they regretted that some office bearers make comments on subjects outside their purview and talk less about the states and departments under their charge.
Dwivedi's remarks were also a rebuff to Chaturvedi, who had not only spoken out of turn on Bhopal gas issue but also raked other controversies with his comments on Amar Singh and NCP chief Sharad Pawar in the past. He was dropped from the list of party spokespersons on both the occasions and was asked not to brief the media.
Party sources say that this was applicable to ministers also and both the party and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in past advised them not to speak on other's subjects leading to unnecessary controversies.