In a big setback, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction in the 2019 defamation case over 'Modi surname' remarks.
Lok Sabha Secretariat in a notification said that it was effective from March 23, the date of his conviction.
"Consequent upon his conviction by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat...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...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," read the order.
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, @RahulGandhi stands disqualified. Indian Democracy Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/d8GmZjUqd5— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) March 24, 2023
Meanwhile, Congress secretary in-charge communications, Jairam Ramesh tweeted that “We will fight this battle both legally and politically. We will not be intimated or silenced.”
Opposition leaders furious
"In PM Modi's new India, opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP. While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches. Today we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy," West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was quoted by ANI.
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said that BJP tried all ways to disqualify him. They don't want to keep those who are speaking the truth but we will continue to speak the truth. We will continue to demand JPC, if needed we'll go to jail to save democracy, he added.
Meanwhile, several opposition party members were detained for protesting at Vijay Chowk on Friday.
Opposition parties led by Congress marched towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan from nearby Vijay Chowk amid heavy security deployed in the premises. Congress leaders marched with the banner "democracy in danger".
MPs were detained and taken away to nearby police stations in a bus and the march was dispersed.
Police said that they did not had the permission for the march.
Prominent leaders, including K C Venugopal, Adhir Chowdhury, K Suresh, Manickam Tagore, Imran Pratapgarhi and Mohammed Javed, were stopped by the police and detained at Vijay Chowk here for violating prohibitory orders, said the opposition.
Kharge, also raised the issue of Rahul Gandhi's conviction in a 2019 criminal defamation case by a Surat court and alleged that the government was targeting the opposition with cases to suppress their voices.
Kharge also hit out at BJP chief J P Nadda over his allegation that Rahul Gandhi compared OBC communities to thieves and accused the BJP of indulging in "caste politics".
Surat District Court on Thursday held Congress MP Rahul Gandhi guilty in the 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over alleged 'Modi surname' remark.
Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years of imprisonment in the criminal defamation case. He was also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 after finding him guilty.
Based on the complaint lodged by BJP MLA and former Gujarat Minister Purnesh Modi, a case was filed against Gandhi for his alleged 'how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?' remarks.
He made the remarks while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In his complaint, BJP MLA Purnesh Modi alleged that Gandhi, while addressing the poll rally in 2019, defamed the entire Modi community by purportedly saying, How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?