NEW DELHI: In an embarrassing development for Congress, veteran Kamal Nath resigned as in-charge of Punjab after the Akalis and Aam Aadmi Party criticised his appointment in the context of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Nath wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi that no FIR or case was pending against him. "In my long career from general secretary to minister, there has never been any stigma to my name," he said.
Party spokesman Ran deep Singh Surjewala said Nath's resignation had been accepted.
The development is clearly related to the view of Punjab Congress members that Nath's appointment would harm Congress' prospects in a state where the 1984 anti-Sikh riots remain a sore point and overseas Khalistanis are using the issue to rake up fresh support.
The decision to name veterans Ghulam Nabi Azad and Nath was seen as a move to bring back the old guard, as Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's plans to give the party a younger look and the prominence of leaders considered close to him suffered a setback with poll defeats in Assam, Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.