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Shoe-throwing at PC forces Cong to revisit Tytler ticket

Shoe-throwing at PC forces Cong to revisit Tytler ticket

Author: Pioneer News Service
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 8, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/168108/Shoe-throwing-at-PC-forces-Cong-to-revisit-Tytler-ticket.html

Sorry, I shouldn't have done it, says journalist

A Sikh journalist on Tuesday hurled a shoe at Home Minister P Chidambaram at a Press conference at Congress headquarters protesting against CBI's clean chit to senior party leader Jagdish Tytler, accused in 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom. Though the shoe missed the target, the incident has compelled the Congress to re-think its decision to field Tytler from North-East Delhi.

The incident occurred around 12.30 pm when Chidambaram was replying to questions by journalists at AICC headquarters. Jarnail Singh, a journalist from Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, asked a question about Tytler being given a clean chit in 1984 riots. Chidambaram replied that the forum was not to raise a question about the issue. An agitated Jarnail asked him why the CBI, which comes under his Ministry, was pressured to give Tytler a clean chit. Chidambaram replied: "First of all let me make it clear that the CBI is not under my Ministry. As far as my knowledge, nobody from the Home Ministry has put any pressure on the CBI, which is an independent investigating agency. It is for the court to decide whether it will accept the CBI report."

Jarnail stood up and hurled a shoe at Chidambaram saying: "Ok if that's the case then I protest." Two persons escorted him out of the conference hall while Chidambaram kept saying, "Gently, gently."

Later, he was taken to Tughlaq Road police station where he was interrogated and then let off. Chidambaram did not press any charges against him. While the action caused a flutter in the hall, a composed Chidambaram appealed to reporters, "Let not the action of one emotional person hijack the entire Press conference. I have answered his questions to the best of my ability."

Speaking to mediapersons outside, Jarnail said, "My manner of protest might have been wrong, but I did not intend to hurt anyone," he said. Asked if he could have used some other manner to protest, he said: "For the last 25 years this has been happening. So what other method is left (to protest)."

Cutting across party lines, leaders condemned the incident terming it as "unfortunate". BJP spokesperson Balbir Punj said, "We condemn the incident." BJP, however, said the Congress should look within and re-think its decision to field Tytler. BJP spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh told a Press conference that his party "demands that both Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler should be withdrawn from elections".

Congress on Tuesday hinted that there could be re-think. "Congress is a large party and it takes considered decisions at appropriate time. Let us see what solutions emerge in the future," party spokesman Ashwini Kumar said at the AICC briefing held hours after the incident. Ashwini was asked to comment whether the party would withdraw nominations to Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, a demand also made by the BJP.

Even the Left parties condemned the incident. CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said, "In democracy, people have right to protest. But there should be decorum for all. See there is no point comparing Bush incident with this," he said, arguing that the CPI(M) never supported the Bush episode.

Though the CPI(M) termed the shoe throwing incident against the then US President George Bush as the "anguish" of the people over the imperialist policies, the party kept low. After a week, the incident was replayed against Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao by a student at Cambridge University. Those days, most of the CPI(M) leaders, including general secretary Prakash Karat said that this incident should be an eye-opener to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who 'still has great affection towards Bush'.

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