Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Congress caves in, dumps Tytler, Sajjan

Congress caves in, dumps Tytler, Sajjan

Author: Pioneer News Service
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 10, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/168414/Cong-withdraws-Tytler-Sajjan-from-poll-fray.html

Fearing the ghost of 1984 anti-Sikh riots would return to haunt it in the forthcoming parliamentary elections after widespread protests by the Sikh community, the Congress on Thursday buckled under pressure and withdrew Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar from the poll fray. But an unimpressed Akali Dal called it "stage-managed'' to allow the "guilty'' take a high moral ground.

The issue was brought back into focus when journalist Jarnail Singh lobbed a shoe at Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday to mark his "protest" against Tytler being given a clean chit by the CBI. Several organisations across Punjab and Delhi, including the Punjab State party unit, protested the move to give ticket to the 'tainted' leaders. Sensing the changing mood, the Congress got into damage control mode and said it would keep the sentiments of the people in mind.

Speaking to mediapersons after meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said, "Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar have expressed their sentiments that they do not wish to embarrass the party by contesting Lok Sabha elections when some political parties and individuals have tried to vitiate the atmosphere. They have opted out of Lok Sabha elections. The party has accepted their feelings and decided that they will not be Lok Sabha candidates of the Congress."

The party decision came after a day of political parleying and behind-the-scene politicking. According to sources, Sonia discussed the issue with senior party leaders, including the State leadership of Punjab. She was advised that the issue could have serious implications in Punjab if not checked at the outset. A senior leader said: "This had communal undertones. This could be very dangerous in election time as it could translate into a law and order situation."

After this, senior party leaders met Tytler and Sajjan Kumar separately on Thursday morning to "convey" that Sonia felt the leaders should offer to withdraw themselves from the race. Tytler decided to hold a press conference to clarify his position and then leave it to the high command. Sajjan Kumar followed suit. The party leadership promptly accepted this.

One of the biggest reasons for Congress position was its fear of a rout in Punjab, a State that Akalis swept when Congress could manage a mere two seats in 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Of the 13 constituencies in the State, Congress contested 11 and was completely wiped out. This time, however, the party has been hoping to improve its tally to at least the halfway mark. All polls conducted by media organisations reflect an increase in Punjab seats for the party.

The controversy sparked by the journalist's shoe, however, threatened the party's performance not only in Punjab but also its showing in Delhi. In just two days, Congress was looking vulnerable even in the Capital - where Sheila Dikshit Government is basking in the glory of the third consecutive victory. Sources said that from eyeing a 7-0 or 6-1 victory in Delhi, the party suddenly looked susceptible in South Delhi and North East Delhi as well. This made Congress take the final step.

At present, several names are doing the rounds for the two seats. The frontrunners include Narendra Nath, Yoganand Shastri and senior Congressman Anil Shastri.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal described the development a "stage-managed tamasha to allow the guilty to take a high moral ground". Youth Akali Dal president Kiranbir Singh Kang said the Sikhs had not forgiven the Congress.

In a statement, Badal warned the Congress against misleading the nation by presenting the party ticket to Jagdish Tytler, as the only issue at stake was punishment for the shocking and unprecedented massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs in 1984.

"Even the withdrawal of ticket to Tytler at this stage would not wash the fact that the Congress had honoured him with membership of the Lok Sabha four times and that too even before he was given any clean chit. He had even been given Cabinet berths," Badal said. He also called upon Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to explain the circumstances under which Tytler was given clean chit by the CBI.

"The Congress must make its stand clear on reports that the massacre was masterminded and executed at the behest of the Congress high command. The core issue was and still remains punishment to the guilty of 84 riots. By stage-managing Jagdish Tytler's tamasha today, the Congress was showing utter lack of moral and political courage even to take party action against him. They are deliberately allowing him an honourable exit and this is bound to outrage Sikh sentiments even further," said Badal in a statement.

Badal also demanded a full scale inquiry into allegations made by former Deputy Speaker and erstwhile senior leader of the Congress in Punjab, Bir Devinder Singh, that the Congress had been forced to allow act sheepishly because Tytler had threatened to expose the high command about the "persons at whose behest he organised the anti-Sikh pogrom.

"The Congress must come clean on why it still lacked the courage to call a spade a spade and state clearly that the ticket was being denied because of Tytler's role in the '84 massacre of innocents. But most significantly, the real issue still remains punishment to the guilty and the clean chit given by the CBI to Tytler," added Badal.

Kiranbir Singh Kang, president of the Youth Akali Dal, said the Congress decision to withdraw the candidature of Tytler and Sajjan for the Lok Sabha polls was a 'useless exercise' and a political gimmick'.

In a statement issued here, Kang said the Congress had bowed to public pressure, including Sikh organisations and political parties and human rights bodies. He said that fielding Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler from Delhi seats was a conspiracy and insult on Sikhs. He said the Congress in a way admitted that both Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler were guilty in 1984 massacre of Sikhs.

Kang said justice would be delivered to victims of 1984 massacre engineered by the Congress only when all key accused are hanged to death by courts. He said that the Sikh community would wait for the day when justice is delivered to them. He said that Sonia Gandhi shall apologise to the nation and particularly Sikhs for hurting their sentiments. Kang said for Congress it might have been a political issue but for vast community of Sikhs it was a matter of prestige.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements