A massive political row broke out after Delhi High Court convicted senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
The BJP launched a sharp attack on the Congress following Sajjan's conviction and also targeted Kamal Nath's appointment as Madhya Pradesh chief minister.
“It is an irony that the verdict has come on a day when a Congress chief minister, who is held culpable by the Sikh community, is taking oath,” senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters in an apparent reference to Kamal Nath, who took oath as Madhya Pradesh chief minister on Monday.
Pushed to the backfoot, Congress leaders took the plea that Sajjan Kumar's conviction should not be politicised.
“This should not be politicised and political benefit should not be derived from this,” Congress spokesman Abhishel Manu Singhvi said.
However, his colleague and former law minister Kapil Sibal hit back at the BJP saying a number of its leaders were named in the 2002 post-Godhra communal riots.
“Those people who backed Maya Kodnani (convicted in Gujarat riots case), they should get strictest of punishment. These people were then chief minister, now prime minister,” Sibal said.
Singhvi described the allegations against Nath as “condemnable”.
“There is no case against him, no FIR, no conviction. Just because he is taking oath as chief minister, you are politicising the matter,” he said.
Punjab Chief Minister and Congress veteran Amarinder Singh welcomed Sajjan's conviction.
“Justice has finally been delivered. Sajjan was named by victims who I met in refugee camps then and I’d always maintained he should be punished,” said Singh, who had also named former Congress leaders Dharam Das Shastri, H K L Bhagat and Arjun Das.
In an all round attack on the the Congress, BJP president Amit Shah said that the victims of the 1984 riots had lost all hope of justice because those responsible for crime against them enjoyed political patronage of the Congress leadership.
Jaitley also accused the Congress leadership of being involved in “cover-up” operations after the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
“Justice for the victims of 1984 was buried by the Congress. The NDA restored fairness and accountability... The Congress and the Gandhi family legacy will continue to pay for the sins of 1984 riots,” the finance minister said.