Targeting the Congress for its leader Sam Pitroda’s “hua toh hua” remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Prime Minister Narendra said Friday that it shows the “character, mentality and intentions” of the party.
Addressing a rally at Rohtak in Haryana on the last day of campaigning for Phase 6, Modi, referring to the Congress, said “such people need to be taught a lesson on May 12” when 59 Lok Sabha seats go to polls across seven states including Haryana and Delhi.
Pitroda, a close aide of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the party’s overseas head, while responding to a question on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots had said, “Ab kya hai ‘84 ka, baat toh kariye aapne kya kiya paanch saal mei. Uski baat kariye. 84 mein hua toh hua. Aapne kya kiya? (What about ‘84? Talk about what you did in five years. So what? 1984 happened. What have you done?)
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Referring to Pitroda’s comments, the Prime Minister said: “Congress, which ruled for a long time, has been insensitive and that is reflected by the three words spoken yesterday. Do you want to know what those three words were? These words show the character, mentality and intentions of Congress party. These words were ‘hua toh hua’.”
“Yesterday, one of the tallest leaders of the Congress said on TV that ‘84 ka danga, hua toh hua’. Do you know who this leader is? This leader is the closest to the Gandhi family. This leader is a very good friend of Rajiv Gandhi and Guru of the namdaar (dynast) president of Congress.”
Scrambling to control the damage in the wake of Pitroda’s comments, which Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said was “shocking”, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said Friday night that Pitroda must apologise for his remarks. “What Mr Sam Pitroda has said is absolutely and completely out of line and is not appreciated. I will be communicating this to him directly. I think 1984 was a needless tragedy that caused tremendous pain. I think justice has to be done. The people who were responsible for the 1984 tragedy have to be punished,” he said.
Pitroda apologised and claimed his comments were twisted and taken out of context because his “Hindi isn’t good”. “What I meant was ‘jo hua woh bura hua,’ (What happened was very bad) I couldn’t translate ‘bura’ (bad) in my mind,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Through his speech, Modi repeated Pitroda’s three words – ‘hua toh hua’. “Thousands of Sikh brothers were lynched in 1984. But, today Congress is saying hua toh hua. In Delhi alone, more than 2,800 Sikhs were murdered, and today Congress is saying hua toh hua. Sikhs were dragged out of their homes and killed, but Congress is saying hua toh hua. Thousands of Sikh families had to abandon their homes and escape out of Delhi with their families, but today Congress is saying hua toh hua,” he said.
“Several Congress leaders were responsible for these murders, but Congress is today saying hua toh hua. It is because of these deeds of the Congress that 21st century India has brought them down to 44 seats and this time, the country is not willing to give them these many too.”
At another rally in neighbouring Punjab, Modi referred to Pitroda again and called the 1984 anti-Sikh riots a “bhayankar narsanhar” (terrible genocide). He said that there are several blots in the Congress party but it is the biggest one.
“This is one such blot which even 50 generations of theirs cannot wipe off. Can Punjab forget the 1984 riots, can India even forget?” he said in Hoshiarpur. “What happened in 1984? Who is responsible for that? For three decades, only excuses were made and commissions formed and injustice was committed.”
(With Anju Agnihotri Chaba in Hoshiarpur)