Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took a jibe at Congress leader and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for skipping the government’s event at Jallianwalla Bagh in with Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu participated.

At the same time, the PM himself provided an ‘explanation’ while redirecting the jibe at the Gandhi family.

“The entire country was celebrating Jallianwala Bagh Centenary yesterday but Congress politicised this sensitive occasion, too. The Vice-President was in Jallianwala Bagh for the government event. He paid tribute to the martyrs but Congress’ CM (Amarinder Singh) was not there,” the PM said at the BJP rally in Jammu-Kashmir.

“Do you know why? Because he was busy in ‘bhakti’ of ‘Congress parivar’. He went to Jallianwala Bagh with ‘naamdar’ but didn’t find it right to attend event with Vice-President. This is the difference between ‘Rashtrabhakti’ and ‘Parivar bhakti’,” the PM thundered.

But the PM then offered a salve to Singh, who was an Army officer before joining politics.

“I have known Captain Amarinder Singh for a long time. I have never raised a question on his patriotism. I can understand the kind of pressure which must have been put on him for such ‘parivar bhakti’,” he said.

Responding to the PM’s remarks, the Punjab CM shot back accusing the Modi government of holding a parallel event instead of backing the state government.

“Shocked by your remarks in Kathua on Jallianwala Bagh @narendramodi ji. You used a somber occasion to play dirty politics, conveniently ignoring your own government’s decision to hold a parallel event instead of extending support to my govt, which we’d been requesting for 2 yrs,” tweeted Singh.

 

On 13 April, Saturday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi laid a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial marking the centenary of the massacre. The Punjab CM and other ministers in the state government such as Navjot Singh Sidhu accompanied the 48-year-old Congress chief.

The Vice-President also visited the memorial a few hours later and released a commemorative coin of Rs 100 and a postage stamp.

Over a thousand peaceful protesters and pilgrims were killed at Jallianwalla Bagh on 13 April 1919 by soldiers led by British Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer. British claimed that only 379 people were killed but others put the figure well above 1000.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had on Wednesday, 10 April, expressed “regret” in Parliament for the massacre but did not offer an apology.