Facing a mounting attack from the BJP, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Monday said those involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots should be punished, even as he again rebuked his party leader Sam Pitroda, saying he should be “ashamed” of his remarks on the tragic event.
Addressing a poll rally in Hoshiarpur, Gandhi said that what happened in 1984 was very wrong.
“Pain, which is there in people’s hearts, you (Pitroda) should respect that, and those who committed wrongs in 1984 (riots), there should be action against
them and action will be taken.”
Earlier, at his rally at Khanna, which was his first rally in Punjab, he also said that his party’s overseas unit chief should apologise to the country for his “totally” wrong remarks.
The Congress president’s remarks came in an apparent damage control exercise after an uproar over Pitroda’s “hua to hua” response to a query on the riots.
The Congress chief had earlier tweeted his disapproval and the party had distanced himself from Pitroda’s remarks.
“What Sam Pitroda said about 1984 was totally wrong and he should seek an apology from the country. I am saying this publicly and I also told the same to him over phone. Pitroda ji, what you had said was completely wrong and you should be ashamed of yourself. You should seek a public apology,” Gandhi said towards the end of his speech here.
The BJP stepped up offensive against the Congress over Pitroda’s remarks, as the 1984 riots is an emotive issue in Punjab, which is going to poll on May 19.
Gandhi termed the Lok Sabha polls an ideological fight between “false promises and realistic commitments.” While Modi and the BJP had cheated the people of India with their “lies and false propaganda,” the Congress always remained true to its promises, he claimed.
“This chowkidar has been exposed, the people know the truth about him and he can no longer escape for perpetrating the theft of their hard-earned money with demonetisation and GST, and for diverting Rs 30,000 crore to a businessman with the Rafale defence deal,” Gandhi alleged.
He claimed that the people would not forgive Modi for standing as a “mute spectator” when Dalits and minorities were being attacked, youth were being “deprived” of jobs and scholarships, and when farmers were “committing suicide” or were being thrown behind bars, Gandhi said.