A controversy erupted as Congress president Rahul Gandhi went on a one-day fast at Rajgath in New Delhi on Monday. Soon after the programme began, Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who has been named in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, were asked to leave the stage by the Congress party.
The party, however, ruled out any controversy, saying the leaders were asked to leave the stage as they did not meet the “criteria”. Congress Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken told reporters that only party office bearers and former ministers were supposed to join the Congress president on the stage for the fast, adding that “some leaders who did not meet the criteria were asked to leave”.
Former president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, Arvinder Singh Lovely, also gave the same reasoning while speaking to Zee News. He said, “Only those who did not meet the criteria were asked to leave the stage. There is no other reason behind it.”
While Rahul Gandhi is himself participating in the fast at Rajghat to ‘protect communal harmony’, he has directed all district headquarters of the party to ensure it becomes a country-wide event.
Rahul's decision was communicated to all state unit presidents, AICC general secretaries and Congress legislative party leaders in different states through a letter by general secretary Ashok Gehlot.
"The Congress president has directed for holding fasts on April 9 at all district headquarters. Peace and harmony has been embodied in the soul of this country and the responsibility to uphold it lies with the Congress," the letter had said.
"What has happened on April 2 during the Bharat Bandh protests is very unfortunate. It is very dangerous for the social fabric of this country. Clearly, the BJP-led central and state governments didn`t initiate steps to curb violence. Therefore, it becomes even more important for the Congress to lead the nation in tough times," the letter further said, as per IANS.