Amritsar: In a scathing attack on Congress, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday termed the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as one of the "biggest examples of destruction" the country witnessed during the party's rule.
"I sometimes say when history will be written, 1984 will be known, 'vinash ka saal' (year of destruction)... When Congress was in power, the kind the destruction we witnessed, 1984 was one of the biggest examples of that," he alleged at a function in Amritsar to mark the Punjabi Suba Golden Jubilee.
"Terrorism spread in Punjab because of the mistakes of Congress. Punjab and Punjabis faced the maximum consequences during that time," Jaitley alleged.
"Dismissing governments, terrorism, putting democracy in danger, not allowing other governments to finish their terms, putting people behind bars and putting the 1984 blot on the country, were part of its regime," he claimed.
He lauded Punjab and its people for successfully fighting several kinds of difficulties.
"When the country faced the danger of poverty, Punjab was ahead in making contributions toward the Green Revolution. Punjab then faced the (Indo-Pak) 1971 war bravely. There was no such problem that Punjab did not face," Jaitley said.
During the Emergency, when "democracy was in danger", the biggest 'Satyagraha' was done by SAD and Jan Sangh, he claimed.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has given heritage status to Jallianwala Bagh and Amritsar. The city was also selected under the Smart City Mission, the Union Minister said.
Congress and its domination is getting weaker, he claimed, adding there is a new confidence in India under the leadership of Modi.
"India is now the fastest growing economy. Today no one can play mischief with us. The whole world knows that we have different kind of government," Jaitley claimed.
"If an enemy makes any attempt at the border or if anyone conspires against India, it will get the same reply as it has been getting for the last two-months," he said.
He lauded the Badals for standing like a "rock" when Punjab faced turbulent times during the Emergency, the anti-Sikh riots and terrorism.
"All his life, he (Parkash Singh Badal) has kept the BJP and Akali Dal united. The alliance is not just a political one but meant to bring the whole society together," he said.
"The problems which we faced in the last 30-32 years have turned into a black chapter of history. Today the programmes are changing," Jaitley said.
Appreciating the work of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab, he said the "map" of the state's cities and villages are changing because of the state government's efforts toward welfare and development.
"The map of Punjab's cities, mandis and villages is changing. A new chapter is being written," he said.
"Today, we complete 50 years (of Punjabi Suba). The Centre extends full support to the state. If the next government is of SAD-BJP, the Centre will double its support," Jaitley said.
He said this was a joyous occasion for every Punjabi across the globe as the state is commemorating its golden jubilee, since it was formed on November 1, 1966.
"We have formed government two to three times without serving the full tenure as the Centre had dismissed the government. It has happened many times with Punjab," he said, adding there were not too many occasions when BJP and Akalis were both at the Centre and state.
"There were few instances when alliance partners were in power both at state and centre. Because of such relationships Punjab witnessed unparalleled development," he said, adding the alliance's rule was far better than that of the Congress regimes.
During Emergency the alliance opposed it tooth to nail. The current era would be best remembered as the "years of reconstruction", the Union minister claimed.
"The slur of the 1984 Sikh carnage, frequent dismissal of democratically elected governments, menace of terrorism and several misdeeds of Congress spoke volumes of its dubious character," he said, adding concerted efforts on part of Badal has resulted in reviving Punjab's pristine glory.
"Punjab has witnessed complete transformation with Badal as Chief Minister and it would be at the pinnacle of all-round progress and lead the country to prosperity if our alliance is voted back to power," he reiterated.