Congress's Sam Pitroda, who is in charge of the party's overseas units, today brushed off the BJP's suggestion that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots took place on the orders of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The party had cited the Nanavati Commission report to validate the claim, which has infuriated the Congress. The report, which came out in 2005, had contradicted any such suggestion.
Asked to respond to the BJP claim, news agency ANI quoted Mr Pitroda as saying: "I don't think so, this is also another lie. What about 1984 now? What have you done in the last five years, talk about that. What happened in 1984, happened. What have you done? (Ab kya hai ''84 ka? Aapne kya kiya 5 saal mein, uski baat kariye. ''84 mein hua to hua. Aapne kya kiya?)"
The BJP, he said, had made a number of promises before coming to power in 2014. "You were voted to create jobs. You were voted to create 200 smart cities. You have not even done that. You have not done anything, that is why you keep talking here and there," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Nearly 3,000 Sikhs were massacred in the riots following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.
A tweet from the BJP on Thursday morning read, "It's on record of Nanavati Commission that probed the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the biggest genocide of India in which the government killed its own citizens, that instructions to kill came directly from the then PM Rajiv Gandhi's office. The country awaits justice for this karma".
In his report, Justice GT Nanavati, a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, who investigated the riots as a one-man commission, had said there is "absolutely no evidence" that Rajiv Gandhi had suggested or organised attacks on Sikhs.
The report said evidence suggests that Shri Rajiv Gandhi had showed much concern about the violence.
"He had issued an appeal for remaining calm and maintaining communal harmony," the report said, It also said when people complained about not being able to reach the police on the emergency number 100, he had called police officers and told them to take immediate action. "He had even visited the affected areas on the night of 1-11-84," the report read.
The BJP allegation about the riots was the third consecutive attack on Rajiv Gandhi ahead of the last two phases of the ongoing national election. Punjab votes on May 19.
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cited Rajiv Gandhi to bolster claim about the corruption in the Congress regime. "Rajiv Gandhi had died as Bhrashtachari number 1," he had said. On Wednesday, he said that Rajiv Gandhi had used the warship INS Virat to go on a family holiday, compromising national security.
Using a hashtag that read in Hindi, "Modi is the biggest liar", the Congress tweeted: "Gentle reminder to Modi, this is the 2019 election, not 1951, not 1966 & not 1984. We dare you to fight on the real issues, do you have the guts?"
Senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit had also expressed disappointment over BJP's allegation. "Why would Rajiv Gandhi do that? His mother had been killed, why would he instruct? He was deeply hurt. Does the BJP act like this? I am really disappointed," she was quoted as saying by ANI.