NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH: Under fire for his comments on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Congress leader Sam Pitroda on Friday accused the BJP of twisting his words, while his party, mindful of the possible damage that the alleged insensitive comments could cause to its poll prospects in Delhi and Punjab, distanced itself from his remark.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP offensive, saying Pitroda’s remark, reflected the “character and arrogance” of the Congress. Addressing a rally at Rohtak in Haryana on Friday, Modi said, “Yesterday, one of the tallest leaders of the Congress said ‘84 ka danga hua to hua (so what if the 1984 riots happened)’. Do you know who this leader is... he is very close to the Gandhi family. He keeps meeting them on daily basis and is their biggest confidant. This leader was very good friend of Rajiv Gandhi and is the guru of Congress’s naamdar (dynast) president.”
Wondering if Rahul Gandhi will “oust his guru”, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said it was a “matter of disgrace” that the Congress has no remorse over the killings of Sikhs in 1984. BJP and Akali Dal held a protest in Amritsar against Pitroda.
The Congress distanced itself from Pitroda’s comments and asked party leaders to be careful and sensitive in future. Stating that the Congress had strived to ensure justice for the 1984 riots victims, its spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the party continued to support the quest for justice and stern punishment for those found guilty in the anti-Sikh riots, as also the subsequent acts of violence, including the 2002 riots in Gujarat.
Pitroda on his part accused the BJP of twisting his words to “distort facts, divide us (Congress) and hide their failures”. However, he added that things of the past are not relevant in this election.