Barely hours after a resolution demanding the withdrawal of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna raked up a political storm across India, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Somnath Bharti defended its move, saying that the lines on Rajiv Gandhi was not part of the original resolution which was distributed to its MLAs and he himself later proposed the amendment and passed on to party MLA Jarnail Singh.
Taking to Twitter, Bharti wrote, "In connection with a dispute about a line on Sri Rajiv Gandhi in the resolution passed in assembly today, I confirm that the line was not part of original resolution distributed to MLAs n it was me who suggested the line as an amendment n passed on to Sri Jarnail Singh Ji ".
"Jarnail ji did not propose that amendment and never put that for the vote. Amendments are always put to vote separately and unless passed that can not be a part of the passed resolution. First I talked about this in my speech and then suggested this amendment and party had no opportunity to see the same," he added.
"I further clarify that amendment I proposed was not put to vote as an amendment n hence there is no question of passing the same. Hope this answers the dispute conclusively," Bharti clarified in a series of tweets.
I further clarify that amendment I proposed was not put to vote as an amendment n hence there is no question of passing the same. Hope this answers the dispute conclusively.— Adv. Somnath Bharti (@attorneybharti) December 21, 2018
The AAP legislators have been accusing former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi of justifying’ the killing of innocent Sikhs in the 1984 riots. The 1984 anti-Sikh riots, or what the Sikh community calls genocide, erupted in India with thousands of Sikhs being killed following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi's mother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31.
On November 19, AAP leader and lawyer HS Phoolka along with BJP secretary released the video of the speech delivered by Rajiv Gandhi on Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary at Boat Club. In an apparent reference to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots the former prime minister said that "when a big tree falls, the earth shakes".
Addressing a press conference Phoolka said, "A prime minister who justifies the killing of innocent citizens, definitely does not deserve Bharat Ratna. We, therefore, call upon the government to withdraw the Bharat Ratna conferred upon Rajiv Gandhi".
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots case has been hogging the limelight in the media ever since Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in early December has been convicted in connection with the decade-old violence against Sikhs. Several AAP MLAs were equivocal in slamming the Congress for not taking action against their leaders who were allegedly involved in the riots.
Union Home Minister Arun Jaitley also took a swipe at the Congress for choosing Kamal Nath for the post of Madhya Pradesh chief minister, alleging that Sikhs consider Nath "culpable" in the 1984 violence against the community.
In an apparent reference to Nath, Jaitley said it is an irony that the verdict against Sajjan Kumar has come on a day when a Congress chief minister, who is held culpable by the Sikh community, is taking an oath. Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots on December 17, the same day when Kamal Nath took oath as the new chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.