Rahul Gandhi disqualified from Indian Parliament

Congress leader unseated as a member of Lok Sabha following his conviction in criminal defamation case over his ‘Modi surname’

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified as a member of Lok Sabha on Friday, a day after he was convicted by a Surat court in a criminal defamation case. 

Top Indian opposition figure Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified from parliament as a result of his conviction for defamation, a notice from the national legislature said. “Rahul Gandhi… stands disqualified from the member of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction,” the notice said.

The decision by the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s legislature, comes a day after Gandhi was found guilty of defamation for a 2019 campaign trail remark implying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a criminal.

Modi’s government has been widely accused of using the law to target and silence critics, and the case in the premier’s home state of Gujarat is one of several lodged against his chief opponent in recent years.

Gandhi, the leading face of the opposition Congress party, was sentenced to two years imprisonment but immediately granted bail after his lawyers announced their intention to appeal.

Congress spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh confirmed to AFP that his party had received the notice.

Meanwhile, Congress continued its pan-India agitation today against the conviction of Rahul Gandhi. The party was planning to meet President Droupadi Murmu with other parties over the issue. Congress raised the issue in Parliament, leading to a ruckus in both Houses.

Meanwhile, BJP claimed that Rahul Gandhi has a habit of levelling fabricated allegations having no connection with facts while alleging the Congress leader has a “huge arrogance but little understanding”. 

In a series of tweets amid a political fight between the saffron party and the Congress following Gandhi’s conviction, BJP president JP Nadda alleged that “lies, personal slander and negative politics is integral” to his politics.

People’s “punishment” to him will be more severe in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls than in 2019 when he lost in Amethi and the Congress was routed nationally, the BJP leader said.

India’s biggest Opposition party, Congress, announced the mass agitation immediately after the conviction of Gandhi in a defamation case and said it will not just fight the case legally but also politically.

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