Debating India

ELECTIONS 2004

Bees Saal Baad: Cong exorcises ghosts of 1984

Thursday 20 May 2004, by RANA*Yudhvir

AMRITSAR : Has Congress redeemed itself in the eyes of the Sikhs? At least that is how those who still find it difficult to forgive the 1984 anti-Sikh riots feel after it became clear that Manmohan Singh would become the first Sikh Prime Minister of India .

A wave of jubilation has swept the Sikhs here. The common refrain is: The appointment of a Sikh at the helm of affairs of the nation would not only raise the stature of the Sikhs around the world, but Manmohan Singh’s economic genius would help India emerge as a stronger economy in the world. Some see it as a long-awaited recompense by the Congress for the ’84 riots.

People here feel that by appointing a Sikh as PM, the Congress will indirectly assuage the hurt feelings of Sikhs due to Operation Bluestar and anti-Sikh riots, for which the Sikhs, in general, hold Congress responsible. Santokh Singh, a doctor, called this "an unspoken apology of Congress."

Said Deepinder Singh, an advocate: "Manmohan Singh’s appointment as Prime Minister, and that too by the Congress party which was dubbed as anti-Sikh party, is an exemplary decision. It’s a moment of pride for all Sikhs irrespective of their political affiliations."

Manmohan’s image as an honest and upright politician with a clean image has evoked spontaneous respect and adulation from masses and classes alike.

"The Sikh intelligentsia would be proud of Manmohan Singh being the Prime Minister of country. Under his governance, the nation will develop by leaps and bounds," added Deepinder.

Harminder Singh, an industrialist, said: "It is a matter of pride for the Sikh quom. The whole world would know the potential of Sikhs."

Bhag Singh Ankhi, honorary secretary of Chief Khalsa Diwan, said this decision would heal the wounds of the Sikhs. Said an emotionally sh-aken Bhag Singh: "Kuch malaham lagegi Sikha de jakhma te."

See online : The Times of India

P.S.

in The Times of India, Thursday, May 20, 2004.

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