New Delhi: The controversial remark by Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots seems to have put the party on the defensive, with its leaders fearing the community might get further alienated.
Delhi alone has close to two million Sikhs, and the party faces an uphill task in winning back Sikh support in Punjab.
Sensing a chance to corner the Congress aft-er Mr Gandhi’s remarks in a television interview, several groups affiliated to the Akalis and others held protests here, and demonstrations were reported in parts of Punjab.
With Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal pushing for an SIT probe into the 1984 riots, the AAP is trying to further consolidate its support base among Delhi’s Sikhs.
The BJP, sensing an opportunity to shift the focus from the 2002 Gujarat riots, seems to be encouraging the Sikh groups to agitate on the streets against Mr Gandhi’s remarks. In 2009, the Congress was forced to drop Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler as Lok Sabha candidates over this issue.