Amritsar, Punjab: The slugfest between BJP’s Amritsar candidate Arun Jaitley and his Congress rival Capt Amarinder Singh over Operation Bluestar got fiercer on Thursday, with Amarinder warning Jaitley against raking up the issue, and Jaitley hitting back saying it was Amarinder who had started it.
Operation Bluestar in 1984 was carried out by the army to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple who were demanding a separate Sikh nation, Khalistan. The latest verbal duel had begun after Amarinder accused Jaitley of adopting “double standards” by opposing the Bluestar Memorial constructed in the Golden Temple complex “but enjoying the hospitality of those (Akalis) who got it constructed”. In a Facebook post, Jaitley had said, “I have always believed that Operation Bluestar was an ill-conceived and ill-planned operation… [Amarinder] is the candidate of a party which planned and executed [it].”
Early on Thursday, Amarinder issued another statement telling Jaitley not to “rake up the old issues for petty political gains lest these open old wounds”.
“Your party the BJP and your ally Mr (Parkash Singh) Badal, ( chief minister and SAD leader), are as much responsible for the tragedy of Operation Bluestar and terrorism as anyone else,” Amarinder said, “Before questioning the Congress… Jaitely should ask people like (BJP leader) Mr LK Advani and Mr Badal.” Besides, he added, Badal had recommended army action in the Golden Temple during his meeting with the then union home minister PV Narasimha Rao on March 28, 1984.
Jaitley responded, “It is Capt Amarinder who raked up the issue of operation Bluestar and I just responded… It is he who sits in the company of those guilty for the operation… I cannot be aggressive in my language but definitely am in my thoughts.”
He added, “Today he is taking LK Advani’s name. Where was Amarinder for the past 30 years?” And he also wrote on Facebook, refer ring to Amarinder being ‘maharaja’ from the erstwhile Patiala royalty: “Everyone in public life must be honest. Most certainly the rulers and Maharajas should display greater probity and transparency than lesser mortals.”