Two days before voting in Delhi for the national election, the ruling BJP has tweeted a video of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The video posted on the BJP’s official Twitter handle includes a clip of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi saying, on the riots, “When a tree falls, the earth shakes.”
Rajiv Gandhi, the father of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, was assassinated in 1991 by a Tamil Tigers suicide bomber.
His remarks on the carnage in which nearly 3,000 were killed following the assassination of his mother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, has often been held up as a display of Congress’s arrogance and callousness.
Several Congress leaders were accused of leading killer mobs that targeted Sikhs in Delhi.
Some of them – Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, Kamal Nath and HKL Bhagat – are also shown in the video tweeted by the BJP, which is captioned: “This video will shake you to the core, now you have to decide.”
This is the third time that the BJP has dragged in Rajiv Gandhi while campaigning for this election.
Last weekend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a rally that Rajiv Gandhi died as “Bhrashtachari (corrupt) Number 1“. The remarks were condemned not just by Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra but also several opposition leaders including Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal.
Undeterred by the criticism, PM Modi again referenced Rajiv Gandhi at a rally in Delhi’s Ram Lila Maidan on Wednesday, accusing him of using naval warship INS Virat as a personal taxi for a family outing. That allegation has been refuted by naval officers of the time, including the commander of the ship, Vice Admiral Vinod Pasricha.
The BJP’s 1984 offensive gained more grist after Congress’s Overseas chief Sam Pitroda, reacted to a BJP claim that the Nanavati Commission had found that “instructions to kill” came directly from Rajiv Gandhi’s office. “This is also another lie, and what about 1984? You speak about what you have done in five years. It happened in 1984, so what? (1984 hua toh hua). What have you done,” Mr Pitroda said.
The Nanavati Commission did not, in fact, include any such reference on Rajiv Gandhi.
Delhi votes on Sunday in the sixth round of voting for the Lok Sabha election. Victims of the 1984 riots predominantly live in pockets in east and west Delhi. Because of the considerable Sikh population in Delhi, the riots remain an emotive issue during elections.
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Ahead Of Delhi Vote, BJP Raises 1984 Memories, Tweets Rajiv Gandhi Speech – NDTV News