Days after being appointed as Punjab affairs in-charge, veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath on Wednesday resigned from the post. Nath wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi, requesting her to relieve him from the position after controversy erupted over his appointment.
“Have been hurt by developments in the past few days where unnecessary controversy has been created around 1984 riots,” said Nath.
Congress spokesman Randip Surjewala confirmed Nath’s resignation and said the party president has accepted it.
Nath, facing allegations of leading a mob near Gurdwara Rakabganj in Delhi during the anti-Sikh riots in 1984, is a controversial face in Punjab. The state unit of the party has reacted with shock and disbelief at his appointment in Punjab where 1984 riots is an emotive issue.
Captain Amarinder Singh, however, has come out in support of Nath.
Amarinder told The Indian Express: “Nath had no role to play in riots. I was the only leader from Punjab to visit Delhi post the riots. I heard names of five leaders to be responsible for the riots. Nobody named Nath then. The issue was raised only after the Sikh for Justice leader, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun sought a ban on his entry to the US in 2010.”
Punjab Chief Minsiter Parkash Singh Badal termed Nath’s appointment as “the ultimate insult to Sikhs”.
“It is an unbelievable brazen act of insensitivity towards Sikhs and crass and vulgar disregard of national opinion on the guilty of the massacre of thousands of innocent Sikh children, men and women by Congress goons in November 1984. I just cannot believe a political party can be so brutally insensitive to the sentiments of Sikhs,” Badal said.