Former Congress president and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Member of Parliament with effect from 23 March, the day he was convicted in a 2019 criminal defamation case by a Surat court.
“… Consequent upon his conviction by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat in C.C./18712/2019, Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction i.e. 23 March, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” Lok Sabha Secretary General Utpal Kumar Singh said in the notification.
Reacting to the disqualification, Rahul Gandhi said that he was fighting for the voice of India.
“I am fighting for the voice of India. I am ready to pay any cost,” wrote him in Hindi on Twitter.
मैं भारत की आवाज़ के लिए लड़ रहा हूं।
मैं हर कीमत चुकाने को तैयार हूं।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 24, 2023
Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor condemned the action claiming that it was not good for democracy.
“I’m stunned by this action and by its rapidity, within 24 hours of the court verdict and while an appeal was known to be in process. This is politics with the gloves off and it bodes ill for our democracy,” Tharoor said on Twitter.
I’m stunned by this action and by its rapidity, within 24 hours of the court verdict and while an appeal was known to be in process. This is politics with the gloves off and it bodes ill for our democracy. pic.twitter.com/IhUVHN3b1F
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 24, 2023
Attended Lok Sabha
Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi attended Lok Sabha proceedings.
Rahul Gandhi also attended a meeting of party MPs before the start of the House proceedings. Congress Parliamentary Party Chief Sonia Gandhi was also present at the meeting.
The House was adjourned seconds after convening amid ruckus over various issues, and Rahul Gandhi left Parliament soon after that.
The court in Gujarat sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail in the case, filed on a complaint by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi for his alleged remark, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?”
Kharge refutes Nadda’s allegation
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday refuted BJP chief JP Nadda’s allegation that Rahul Gandhi compared OBC communities to thieves and accused the ruling party of indulging in “caste politics”.
Amid a political fight between the BJP and the Congress following Gandhi’s conviction, Nadda alleged that “lies, personal slander and negative politics is integral” to his politics.
“By comparing OBC communities to thieves, Rahul Gandhi has shown a pathetic and casteist mindset. However, his latest tirade is not surprising. For the last many years, he has always reduced levels of political discourse,” Nadda said.
Hitting back, Kharge, in a tweet in Hindi, said, “Modi government cannot escape from JPC! Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, and Mehul Choksi fled with the money of PNB and the public. OBCs did not do so, then how were they insulted?”
“SBI/LIC suffered losses due to your ‘best friend’!” he added, slamming the government.
“‘Ek toh chori mein sahyog phir jatigat rajneeti ka prayog’ (First providing help in stealing then applying caste politics),” Kharge said and termed it “shameful”.
अडानी पर JPC से भागने के नित नए बहाने ढूंढ रही है मोदी सरकार।
• बैंक और जनता के पैसे लेकर नीरव मोदी, ललित मोदी, मेहुल चोकसी भागे
• मोदी सरकार उनका बचाव क्यों कर रही है?
पहले चोरी में सहयोग फिर जातिगत राजनीति का प्रयोग… शर्मनाक है!
— Congress (@INCIndia) March 24, 2023
To appeal against conviction
The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma, which held 52-year-old Gandhi guilty under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 499 and 500, also granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court.
Gandhi can escape immediate disqualification as a Member of Parliament if the appellate court suspends the conviction as well as the two-year jail term.
Mallikarjun Kharge, on Thursday, said that the party believes in law and the judiciary, and would fight the case according to the law.
Saying that an appeal will be filed in the matter, Kharge slammed the BJP. If they point one finger at others there are four fingers pointed at them also, he said on Twitter.
Opposition stages protest
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday held a meeting with Opposition leaders and discussed the future strategy of the Opposition.
Besides the Congress, senior leaders of parties such as the DMK, National Conference, RSP, VCK, JDU, CPI(M), SP, SS, IUML, AAP, and CPI attended the meeting of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha in his office inside Parliament complex.
Following the meeting, the Opposition MPs held a protest march from the Parliament to Vijay Chowk holding placards like ‘We demand JPC’ and ‘Save LIC’ and a huge banner in front of them with ‘Democracy in Danger’ written on it.
“We’re fighting for JPC into Adani issue for months. They have a majority but the BJP is scared as there’s something fishy. We’ll keep fighting unitedly for it,” Kharge said.
AAP’s Sanjay Singh said Gandhi’s conviction shows that the government wants to finish off the opposition by slapping cases on them.
राज्यसभा में विपक्ष के नेता श्री @kharge के साथ विपक्ष के सांसदों का 'मोदी-शाही' के खिलाफ पार्लियामेंट हाउस से विजय चौक तक मार्च।
इस तानाशाही के खिलाफ हम लड़ते रहेंगे। PM मोदी को अडानी महाघोटाले पर जवाब देना ही होगा। pic.twitter.com/plFRhCIaMn
— Congress (@INCIndia) March 24, 2023
(With PTI inputs)