Hurt over 1984 riot allegations, Kamal Nath quits as Congress general secretary in-charge of Punjab

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath on Wednesday night wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi, expressing his desire to be relieved from the charge of poll-bound Punjab, in view of the raging controversy over his recent appointment because of his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Gandhi immediately accepted his resignation and relieved him of his charge as party General Secretary.

Kamal Nath, who was appointed as the General Secretary in-charge of Punjab as well as Haryana only three days back, said in his letter to Gandhi, ".. I request that I may be relieved of my charge (of Punjab) to ensure that the attention is not diverted from the real issues facing Punjab."

 Hurt over 1984 riot allegations, Kamal Nath quits as Congress general secretary in-charge of Punjab

Kamal Nath. PTI

He said he was "hurt by the developments of the past few days wherein an unnecessary controversy has been created around the tragic 1984 riots in New Delhi."

Insisting that there was not even any complaint or FIR against him in the riots case, Kamal Nath said, "this canard is therefore nothing but a cheap political ploy to gain traction ahead of the elections.... Certain elements are raking up these issues now only for political gains."

Expressing gratitude to Gandhi for appointing him as General Secretary in-charge of Punjab, the Congress leader wrote, "I am practitioner of Nehruvian politics and maligning of the Congress party using false accusations is unacceptable to me."

"I wish the party to focus on the upcoming elections and highlight the issues of misgovernance, misery of the farmers and youth, break down of law and order and rampant drug trade that caused untold misery to the people of Punjab."

Soon after, party spokesman Randeep Surjewala said the Congress president had accepted Nath's resignation as AICC General Secretary.

"Kamal Nath has tendered his resignation from the responsibilities assigned to him in AICC. On his request, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has accepted his resignation," Surjewala said.

Nath's step came as AAP, Akali Dal and BJP kept up attack on him and the Congress over his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots which followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

"Till 2005, not a single public statement, complaint or FIR was ever made against me and the first time my name was ever mentioned in any forum was 21 years after 1984," Kamal Nath wrote.

The Nanavati Commission set up by the previous NDA government "after proper investigation fully absolved me", he added.

"Even during a subsequent motion, to discuss the commission's report in Parliament, none of the Akali-BJP MPs including Sukhbir Singh Badal mentioned my name," he said.

Kamal Nath told the Congress President that he has been blessed to have a long career with the Congress right from youth Congress to being general secretary to being a minister in the Congress governments since 1991 and "never has there been any stigma attached to my name."

"It was not even an issue when I was general secretary incharge of Delhi, rather we won the MCD elections during my tenure," he said.

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Updated Date: Jun 16, 2016 07:45:11 IST