Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified as a Member of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction in the criminal defamation case over his ‘Modi surname’ remark after he was sentenced to two years in prison. The verdict was delivered by a local court in Gujarat state on Thursday.
The Congress party has termed the verdict “erroneous and unsustainable”. On Friday, the party led opposition leaders in a protest march in the capital Delhi. The party says it plans more protests over the issue in the coming days.
Gandhi was convicted on Thursday for his 2019 comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname at an election rally.
He remains on bail for 30 days and has said he will appeal the verdict.
It is to be mentioned that a 2013 Supreme Court order says that a lawmaker convicted in a crime and sentenced to two or more years in jail stands disqualified from the parliament with immediate effect.
Following the disqualification, Gandhi will not be allowed to contest elections until his sentence is suspended or he is acquitted in the case.
The Congress party has said Gandhi is being targeted for exposing the government’s “dark deeds”. Senior party leader Jairam Ramesh called the verdict a “very serious political issue” that could affect “the future of our democracy”.
Ministers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, criticised Gandhi and his party for questioning the verdict.
Federal labour minister Bhupender Yadav said Gandhi had insulted members of the caste grouping known as Other Backward Classes (OBC) under which the name “Modi” falls.
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