A day after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) plunged into crisis over the Delhi Assembly resolution demanding that Rajiv Gandhi be stripped of his Bharat Ratna, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel Saturday said that the controversy was an attempt to derail alliance talks between the AAP and Congress.
Goel, who sought to distance himself from the resolution, also suggested that Delhi Congress Chief Ajay Maken was trying to exploit the controversy as he “did not want an understanding” between the two parties.
On Friday, two AAP MLAs were issued showcause notices after a resolution passed in the Delhi Assembly demanded that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi be stripped of the Bharat Ratna since he had “justified the 1984 anti-Sikh riots”.
At a time when both parties have hinted at alliance talks, the resolution left the AAP scrambling for damage control. While Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said it was merely a proposal from an individual MLA, Speaker Goel said he never allowed the tabling of the “amendment” to the original resolution which was circulated to the MLAs. Sisodia also said the AAP does not support the proposal on taking back the country’s highest civilian award from Rajiv Gandhi.
The AAP maintained that the “original” resolution had no mention of Rajiv and that MLA Somnath Bharti had slipped in a line before passing a handwritten note to Jarnail Singh, who introduced the resolution.
Goel told The Sunday Express: “Rajiv Gandhi’s mother (former PM Indira Gandhi) was assassinated. Carried away by emotions he said that the earth shakes when a big tree falls. What can one do about it? Can he be tried for murder? There was no case of murder against him. So this is an emotional issue. Even Jarnail Singh expressed his emotions. I want to say one thing clearly — from the very beginning Ajay Makenji has been taking this stand. Shuru se wo chahte hai ki koi samjhauta na ho (He does not want any understanding).”
Asked about Maken’s consistent anti-coalition stand, Goel said: “Wo usko agey badha rahe hai (He is taking that forward).” Maken had also targeted Goel over the resolution, saying the “Speaker who presided over the proceedings was a BJP MLA in the first Delhi Assembly in 1993.”
Responding to Goel’s remarks, Maken said: “He is the Speaker. Is this the job of the Speaker to comment on coalition? I would not like to comment further.”