Mounting a sharp attack on senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda over his “so what” remark on 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said it showed the “character and mentality” of the grand old party.
Addressing a poll rally on the last day of campaigning for the sixth phase in Haryana’s Rohtak, Modi said, “Congress, which ruled for a maximum period, has been insensitive and that is reflected by the three words spoken yesterday…these words have not been spoken just like that, these words are character and mentality and intentions of the Congress”.
Referring to Pitroda’s remarks, Modi said, “And which were these words, these were ‘hua to hua’.” He kept repeating “hua to hua” and told the gathering that they must be wondering what the Prime Minister was saying. “We can very well understand arrogance of those who run the Congress in these three words—hua to Hua,” Modi continued.
“Yesterday, one of the tallest leaders of the Congress speaking in a loud voice on 1984 said ’84 ka danga hua to hua’. Do you know who this leader is, he is very close to the Gandhi family…this leader was very good friend of Rajiv Gandhi and Guru of Congress ‘naamdar’ (dynast) president,” he said.
On Thursday, Pitroda, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi and Overseas Congress’ head, stirred up a hornet’s nest after he reportedly said, “So what, it happened” about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
A series of BJP leaders targeted Pitroda over his comments, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who said it was a matter of disgrace that the Congress did not have any remorse and wondered if Rahul Gandhi would “oust his Guru” for the remark.
Defending himself, Pitroda accused the BJP of “distorting the truth” and said things of the past are not relevant in this election.
“I have noticed how 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,” he tweeted. “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 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.
In a press statement, Congress distanced itself from Pitroda’s remarks and said advised leaders to be “careful and sensitive”.
Riots & Violence have no place in our society.
Indian National Congress abhors violence of any kind, against any person of a group of people based on their caste, colour, region or religion.
Our Statement- pic.twitter.com/w9BEdw2ekf
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) May 10, 2019
“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 to the contrary including Shri Sam Pitroda is not the opinion of the Congress party,” the statement said.