Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit's name has been proposed as the in-charge of the Congress' affairs in Punjab, after Kamal Nath resigned from the post over his links to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. ANI, however, reported that though Dixit met Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday, a day after Nath had resigned, she refused to speak about Punjab.
Former Delhi CM Sheila Dixit meets with Cong Pres Sonia Gandhi in the capital, refuses to speak about Punjab. pic.twitter.com/OfBRDgHbrc
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 16, 2016
Congress veteran Kamal Nath, who had been put in charge of the party's affairs in Punjab ahead of the assembly elections in the state early next year, resigned from the post on Wednesday after the issue of his purported involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots reared its head, reports Asian News International in a tweet.
Kamal Nath writes to Cong Pres. Sonia Gandhi requesting to relieve him of Punjab charge to ensure attention is not diverted from real issues— ANI (@ANI_news) June 15, 2016
Congress President Sonia Gandhi accepts Kamal Nath's resignation: Sources— ANI (@ANI_news) June 15, 2016
In a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, he requested that he be relieved from duty, and she has reportedly accepted his resignation.
The riots in 1984 had occurred after one of the Sikh bodyguards of then prime minister Indira Gandhi — Sonia's mother-in-law — had been assassinated, following the purported "desecration" of the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, in Amritsar. Indira had ordered the military strike, code-named Operation Bluestar, to kill pro-Khalistani militants holed up in the shrine.
Following her death, many Sikhs were killed in riots that were said to have been incited by Congress leaders. Kamal Nath was one of the few Congress leaders accused in the case.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had recently urged the BJP-led central government to reopen and re-investigate many of the cases. The request was seen as a move by the party to gain traction in a state where the riots are still a touchy subject.
The Special Investigation Team set up by the Centre is now expected to reopen as many as 75 of the cases. Since the reopening has reportedly ordered by the Centre, the BJP, which is in power in Punjab in coalition with the Shiromani Akali Dal, is also expected to gain from the move.