Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa on Thursday accused the Congress leadership of protecting the perpetrators of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as various media reports said senior Congress leader Kamal Nath was likely to become chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. Sirsa alleged that Nath was involved in the anti-Sikh riots that broke out in the aftermath of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984.

Nath, one of the most senior leaders of the Congress party, was among those questioned by the Nanavati Commission for his alleged involvement in the riots. In June 2016, an outcry over his appointment as the official Congress leader in charge of Punjab led him to resign from the post within three days. Nath had then said that the commission had absolved him of any role in the riots.

“Whenever the Gandhi family comes to power, it protects the perpetrators of the 1984 riots,” Sirsa said, according to PTI. “Now, Rahul Gandhi and the Gandhi family are rewarding Kamal Nath as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi wants to give a message that those involved in the killings of Sikhs in 1984 now need not worry... that they are behind them and will reward them instead.”

The Akali leader warned the Gandhis of Sikh anger if the party decides to go ahead with the decision to make Nath the chief minister.

In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress emerged the single-largest party on Wednesday with 114 seats, while the BJP got 109 seats – both parties were short of the majority mark of 116. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have offered support to the Congress, helping it cross the half-way mark. The two Congress leaders in the race to be Madhya Pradesh chief minister are Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia. However, several reports said that Nath has emerged front-runner for the post.