Khanna/Hoshiarpur (Punjab): May 13: Congress leader Sam Pitroda must apologize to the nation for his remarks in connection with the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and those guilty of the riots should be punished, party President Rahul Gandhi said on Monday.
He reiterated that Pitroda’s “Hua toh hua” (it just happened) remark on the tragic events was “shameful”.
“What Sam Pitroda said on the 1984 riots was wrong. I called him and have told him to apologize. I have told him it has to be a public apology,” he said at an election rally in Khanna town.
At the same time, he said those responsible for the riots should and will be punished.
The Congress chief was accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at the rally in Khanna, which is known for the largest grain market in Asia as it gets millions of tonnes of produce from Punjab’s agricultural fields.
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots have been a sensitive issue for people of Punjab, mainly the Sikhs, and is likely to damage the Congress’ prospects in the state that will go to the polls in the last phase of the Lok Sabha polls on Sunday.
Pitroda, the Indian Oversees Congress chief, had brushed off the 1984 anti-Sikh riots by saying, “it just happened” and later apologised, saying that what he had said was “completely twisted and taken out of context because my Hindi isn’t good.”
At the rally in support of candidates Amar Singh from Fategarh Sahib, Raj Kumar Chabbewal from Hoshiarpur and Santokh Singh Chaudhary from Jalandhar, Gandhi said these elections were an ideological fight between false promises and realistic commitments.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP had cheated the people of India with their lies and false propaganda while the Congress has always remained true to its promises,” he said amid cries of ‘chowkidar (watchman) chor hai’.
“This chowkidar has been exposed, the people know the truth about him and he can no longer escape for perpetrating theft of their hard-earned money with demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax.
“People will not forgive Modi for being a mute spectator when Dalits and minorities were attacked, youths were deprived of jobs and scholarships, farmers committed suicide or thrown behind bars and the money of the people was stolen from them,” Gandhi said.
He said while Modi was talking about surgical strikes, it was the Congress which was preparing to launch the real surgical strikes on poverty, which would be completely wiped out from the country through the proposed Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY).
Recalling allegations from BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chauhan of the farm loan waivers being a farce in Madhya Pradesh, Gandhi said the former Chief Minister’s own family members had benefitted from the waiver under the Congress regime there.
No farmer of any state, religion or caste will go to jail for defaulting on bank loans, he announced.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reiterated that his government would ensure the fulfilment of all promises made by the Congress ahead of Assembly election.
Asserting that his government still had three years to go, he assured the people that every single promise would be implemented before the end of his term.
In just two years, the incumbent Punjab government had completed farm loan waivers for a majority of the 10.25 lakh small and marginal farmers for whom the debt waiver scheme had been launched.
Punjab will go to the polls for its 13 Lok Sabha seats on May 19. (IANS)