Senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Saturday took a dig at Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for “hiding behind SAD’s second-rung leaders” to launch an attack on Rahul Gandhi during his two-day visit to the state.
“Badal should better come out publicly if he has any guts left in him. The noose around his neck is tightening day by day, no matter what diversionary tactics he tries, it is not going to loosen,” said Amarinder. The Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha defended his “clean chit” to late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
“Yes, I have given clean chit to Rajiv and Rahul as none of them had any role in the riots,” he asserted and challenged the Akalis to prove him wrong with facts and not fiction. Amarinder pointed out, when former PM Indira Gandhi was assassinated, Rajiv was in West Bengal.
“After he returned and took oath as the Prime Minister, the first thing he did was to move around Delhi and restore peace and order,” Amarinder said in a statement.
Pointing out that none of the victims have ever levelled such allegations against Rajiv or Rahul, who was only 14 at that time, “which the Akalis, particularly the Badals, are levelling.”
The Amritsar MP said he had already named five persons who, he was told during his visit to the riot victim camps, were involved in the violence. He asked Badal to ensure that “about 120 RSS activists named in the FIRs for anti-Sikh riots are also brought to justice.”
“Having proved to be an absolute administrative and political failure, Badal is now using the name of his second and third rung leaders to try to divert the public attention and mass fury against him,” Amarinder said.
He claimed all the press notes issued in the names of people such as Dhindsa, Chandumajra, Cheema and Grewal (all senior SAD leaders) were being released from the CM house and most probably without their (the leaders’) knowledge and consent.
On Friday, the SAD had termed Rahul’s two-day visit to Punjab as nothing more than a “photo opportunity” aimed at “bolstering his sagging image”.
In a joint statement, senior party leaders, including MPs Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Balwinder Singh Bhundur and Prem Singh Chandumajra and others had said: “Rahul’s refusal to even acknowledge the suffering of the Sikh community at the hands of his family was also indicative of the fact that he wanted to continue to follow the divisive politics of the Congress rather than apologise to find closure for himself and his family”.