Chandigarh: At a time when the Congress is looking to arrest the downslide in its political fortunes, the appointment of senior party leader Kamal Nath as in-charge of the party's Punjab affairs has triggered a massive controversy.
As Punjab is set for Assembly elections early next year, political parties have latched on to the issue as Kamal Nath faces allegations of direct involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.
Terming the appointment as "the ultimate insult to Sikhs", Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said, “This comes on the eve of Rahul Gandhi's visit to Punjab. It is an unbelievably brazen act of insensitivity towards Sikhs."
"I just cannot believe a political party can be so brutally insensitive to the sentiments of the Sikh community," he added.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also attacked the Congress party over the issue, asking Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh if he has absolved Nath for his alleged involvement in 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Kejriwal tweeted: "Capt Amrinder shud state his stand on Kamal Nath. Does Capt absolve Kamal Nath?"
Kejriwal also questioned Centres move to reopen 75 cases of anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and some other states saying BJP has set up SIT (Special Investigation Team) only to prevent AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) from forming an effective SIT.
He tweeted: "Reopen cases now? What did they do in one n a half years? BJP set up SIT only 2 prevent AAP from formin effective SIT."
AAP is set to contest assembly polls in Punjab, the first time it is contesting a state election after its landslide victory in Delhi in 2015.
Meanwhile, a Home Ministry official said Centre-appointed SIT will re-investigate around 75 cases of 1984 riots in Delhi and some other states, a decision that comes months ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab.
A total of 3,325 people were killed in the riots. Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths while the rest occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states.
Delhi Police had closed 241 cases citing lack of evidence.
The Justice Nanavati Commission had recommended reopening of only four of the 241 cases closed by police but BJP wanted re-investigation of all the other 237 cases.