After a full blown controversy over a resolution in the Delhi Assembly on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has clarified that an amendment aimed at withdrawing late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna over his alleged failure to contain violence was not passed yesterday.
AAP claims the resolution, moved by legislator Jarnail Singh, demanded justice for the victims of the 1984 riots. To which, on the recommendation of legislator Somnath Bharti, an amendment seeking the revocation of former PM's Bharat Ratna was added.
"I further clarify that amendment I proposed was not put to vote as an amendment n hence there is no question of passing the same. Hope this answers the dispute conclusively," Mr Bharti tweeted on Friday evening.
The amendment has caused a furore within the party. AAP legislator Alka Lamba told news agency PTI that she was asked to reisgn by Chief Minister Arvidn Kejriwal as she was adamant on passing the amendment on Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna. Ms Lamba, however, claims she walked out of the Assembly when she was asked to back the amendment by her party.
"I'm ready to resign but Rajiv Gandhi has sacrificed a lot for country and I didn't support the proposal of taking back his Bharat Ratna. I've been asked to resign because I stood against the decision of the party," news agency ANI quoted Ms Lamba as saying.
Ms Lamba, 43, was associated with the Congress for nearly 20 years before she quit the party to join AAP in 2014.
Alka Lamba, the legislator from Chandni Chowk, has long been at loggerheads with senior leaders in the party. In 2016, Ms Lamba was removed from the post of party spokesperson for allegedly straying from the party line on former state transport minister Gopal Rai. She is also known to have struck a different note from the party on the issue of electronic voting machines.
The resolution passed by the Delhi assembly noted that "justice continues to elude" the families of the victims in what it termed as one of the worst genocides in the national capital's history. It asked the city government to impress upon the Union Ministry of Home Affairs that it should take all necessary steps to include crimes against humanity in the country's criminal laws, as recommended by the High Court in a recent judgment.
The Delhi Congress did not take kindly to reports of the resolution on Rajiv Gandhi, and responded by calling AAP the "B-Team of the BJP" that has finally shown its "true colours". The Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, is given in recognition of "exceptional service/performance of the highest order".