Pitroda’s comment gave enough ammunition to the BJP in this crucial phase of elections where both Delhi and Punjab are going to polls.
New Delhi: As the BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, slammed Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda on his comment on the 1984 Sikh riots, the Congress on Friday distanced itself from his remark and asked all party leaders to be “careful and sensitive”.
Under attack, Mr Pitroda apologised for his “hua toh hua” remark, saying it was blown out of proportion because his Hindi is not good. “I feel sorry that my remark was misrepresented, I apologise,” he told reporters in Shimla, accusing the BJP of “distorting the truth”.
Mr Pitroda had waded into a huge controversy when he said “hua toh hua”, roughly translated to “so what” on being questioned about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
“My Hindi is not good, what I meant was ‘jo hua vo bura hua’ (what happened was bad), I could not translate ‘bura’ (bad) in my mind,” said Mr Pitroda, a confidant of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Mr Pitroda’s comment gave enough ammunition to the BJP in this crucial phase of elections where both Delhi and Punjab are going to polls.
Slamming Mr Pitroda for his comment, the Prime Minister said at an election rally in Haryana’s Rohtak, “‘Hua so hua’ — the three words that sum up Congress’ arrogance were uttered on Thursday by one of its most senior leaders.”
“This leader is one of the closest people to the Gandhi family,” he said, without naming Mr Pitroda.
In a terse statement released on Friday, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Violence and riots are unacceptable and unpardonable in our society. The Congress and its leadership have strived to ensure justice for 1984 riot victims. We continue to support the quest for justice and stern punishment for those found guilty in 1984 riots as also the subsequent acts of violence including the 2002 Gujarat riots.”
“Any opinion remark made by any individual, including Sam Pitroda, is not the opinion of the Congress. We advise all leaders to be careful and sensitive,” it said.
Bringing the BJP’s Bhopal candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur into the narrative, the Congress said, “Lastly, unlike the BJP, which has decided to field a candidate charged with terror crimes and is being lauded as its face by none less than Narendra Modi himself, the Congress has shown the moral and political courage to punish people and leaders accused of violence/role in 1984.”
Mr Pitroda said on Friday, “I have noticed how the BJP is again twisting three words from my interview to distort facts, divide us and hide their failures. Sad that they have nothing positive to offer. I acknowledged the pain of my Sikh brothers and sisters during difficult times in 1984 and deeply feel for the atrocities that happened.”
“But these are things from past that are not really relevant to this election which is all about what did the Modi government do for the last five years. Rajiv Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will never target a group of people based on creed,” he said.
Apart from the Prime Minister, Union minister Arun Jaitley also attacked Mr Pitroda. He said Mr Pritroda’s reaction is “reflective of the lack of remorse on the part of the Congress with respect to the 1984 genocide”
He asked whether the Congress president will “oust his ‘Guru’, who rubbishes the genocide of India’s most patriotic community in 1984?”
Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Singh Badal said Mr Pitroda “cruelly mocked” Sikh sentiments with his remark which “proves beyond doubt that it was (former PM) Rajiv Gandhi who ordered the massacre”.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi for the comments.
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