Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on Saturday said the demand to revoke former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna was not part of the resolution passed by the House on the 1984 anti-Sikh violence, PTI reported. The proposed amendment seeking the withdrawal of the recognition was not adopted as it was added to the resolution later, he said.
“In the original resolution, which was distributed among the legislators and me, Rajiv Gandhi’s name was not mentioned,” Goel said, adding there is a procedure to make amendments in the resolution. “It was an emotional issue and [Aam Aadmi Party MLA] Jarnail Singh mentioned the name of Rajiv Gandhi during his speech on the resolution.”
The Delhi Assembly on Friday had passed Singh’s resolution, which demanded the setting up of fast-track courts to deal with cases related to the 1984 violence. Legislator Somnath Bharti and Singh himself had later demanded an addition to the resolution that Gandhi be stripped of the Bharat Ratna for his remarks that were seen as justifying the violence.
Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said that an amendment to a resolution needs to be voted on separately by the House for it to become a part of the original resolution. “There was no mention of Rajiv Gandhi in the original resolution,” he said. “It was an individual handwritten proposal by MLA Somnath Bharti.”
Legislator Alka Lamba had agreed to resign from the Aam Aadmi Party after she reportedly did not support the proposal to revoke Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna. However, she later said she was happy that the party was now supporting the Bharat Ratna for Rajiv Gandhi, and deleted her earlier tweet where she said she was ready to face any consequence.
BJP, Congress criticise Aam Aadmi Party
The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday accused the Aam Aadmi Party of resorting to “drama politics” even as the ruling party denied passing the resolution, PTI reported.
“If the resolution moved by the ruling party MLA was not passed, then the government should resign,” said Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari. “It is an example of drama politics of the AAP in which the public exchequer is being misused to make a mockery of the Legislative Assembly.”
Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken shared on Twitter a video of Friday’s Assembly proceedings, claiming that the Aam Aadmi Party had passed the resolution. “Presiding over is the speaker of Delhi Assembly, who was a BJP MLA in the first Delhi Assembly in 1993,” said Maken. “Will not rest till Kejriwal apologises and withdraws this resolution.”
Congress workers led by Maken also protested outside the Aam Aadmi Party’s headquarters on Saturday evening, The Times of India reported.
Union minister Vijay Goel claimed the resolution “exposed the two-faced character of the AAP”. “The level to which the Aam Aadmi Party can stoop, one instance can be seen in the resolution it passed in the Assembly,” he said. “AAP is merely shedding crocodile tears on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.”