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Rahul Gandhi disqualified as Wayanad MP after Surat court verdict

Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified as a member of the lower house, a day after a Surat court convicted him in a defamation case on March 23 over his ‘Modi Surname’ remarks. The Wayanad MP disqualifying notification was issued by the LS Secretary General Utpal Kumar Singh, hours after the morning session of the house. Now, Gandhi has the option to move to the higher court and will get stayed on defamation conviction. Mr Gandhi is still on bail for 30 days and it will be appealed at the higher court against the verdict. 


Mr. Gandhi was convicted on Thursday for his 2019 controversial comment about PM Modi’s surname at the Karnataka election rally. As per the Supreme Court order in 2013, a legislator convicted of an offence or criminality matter and sentenced to two or more years in jail stands debarred from the assembly with immediate effect under Article 102 (1) (e) of the Constitution of India, section 8 of the Representation of People Act, 1951. Gandhi will not be authorised to participate in an election process until his sentence is dropped or he is acquitted in the defamation case matter.


Shortly after the Lok Sabha Secretariat issued the notification on Gandhi's membership, the Congress said it would fight the battle both legally and politically. Prominent Congress General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh tweeted, "We will fight this battle both legally and politically. We will not be intimidated or silenced. Instead of a JPC into the PM-linked Adani MahaMegaScam, Rahul Gandhi stands disqualified. Indian Democracy Om Shanti.”


On the other hand, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge told the media that Mr Gandhi sought permission to speak in Lok Sabha on Friday, but the chair denied the permission. “If things continue as this, monocracy and authoritarianism will come in this nation,” the Congress senior leader Kharge said at the protest site.


Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a ruling party Minster has directly criticised Rahul Gandhi and his party for putting a question mark on the Surat court verdict. Union Minister Bhupender Yadav said Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had insulted the nation's judicial system and the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community. 


Many opposition parties have come together in support of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The Congress party was also among 14 parties who approached the Apex Court on Friday. The opposition alleged that the Union Government was exploiting the central investigation agency to directly or indirectly target the BJP's political adversary. 


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