It was a rare photo-op on Monday as outgoing chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan actively participated in an event to pass on the baton to his successor, Congress veteran Kamal Nath. Chouhan, fondly called ‘mama’ in the state, was invited on stage and photographed hand-in-hand with Nath as well as Jyotiraditya Scindia in a show of grace and courtesy.
Nath took over the reins of the state on a day when his party colleague Sajjan Kumar was awarded life imprisonment in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. Nath’s swearing-in, too, was held under the spectre of the case as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the Congress for appointing him. "It is sad that the '84 judgment has come on a day when a senior leader who Sikhs believe to be behind riots, is being made a minister," Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said, attacking the grand old party.
Nath, on his part, sought to defend himself against the charges and said there was no FIR, case or chargesheet registered against him regarding the matter. “I had taken oath in 1991 and I remained the Delhi in-charge in the past, but the issue wasn’t raked up then, so you all know well why all this is happening now.”
When asked whether he was ready for a probe given the eyewitnesses of his presence outside the Gurdwara during the riots, Nath laughed off saying, ‘Ye kya aapko kaha hai (Have they told you this)?”
Nath, then, drifted to the Congress’ far loan waiver promise. He stated that immediately after assuming office, he waived off farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh. He also came down heavily on banks for waiving off 50-60% loans of Industrialists but throwing a fir for doing the same for the poor farmers.