NEW DELHI/MUKTSAR: The ghost of anti-Sikh riots continued to haunt Congress leader Kamal Nath despite his giving up charge of poll-bound Punjab with his political rivals stepping up attack and demanding filing of a case against him.
On his part, the former union minister and his party rejected reports that he was asked to resign in view of the controversy surrounding him and that he did it on his own volition so that attention is not diverted from issues facing Punjab.
Congress' face in Punjab and former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh came to Kamal Nath's defence saying he had done a gracious thing by his resignation but maintained that had he continued also "there would not have been any difference".
On Sunday, Kamal Nath was appointed as General Secretary and given charge of both Punjab and Haryana. He resigned last night as in charge of Punjab, which goes to polls next year, in the wake of rivals targeting him on the issue of riots.
Akali Dal leader and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today attacked Kamal Nath saying his exit "vindicated" the stand of his party that 1984 Sikh carnage was a "deep rooted conspiracy" of Congress party to "butcher of innocent" Sikhs. "Kamal Nath was reluctant to accept this post because of his guilty consciousness' owing to his role in massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs," Badal alleged on the sidelines of Sangat Darshan programme in Malout Assembly constituency. He alleged Kamal Nath could not "muster the courage" to face people of state who were well aware of his role in this "barbaric holocaust" of Sikhs.
However, Badal said that the people of state in general and Sikhs in particular would never forgive Kamal Nath and other leaders of his party who had "planned and executed this heinous carnage", which was a dark spot in the entire history of India. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is trying to make inroads into the state in the next year's Assembly elections, also joined the attack on the Congress leader.
It claimed victory over his resignation and demanded that an FIR be registered against Kamal Nath in the Gurudwara Rakabganj Sahib in which two Sikhs were burnt to death in 1984.