This Article is From Mar 23, 2023

Rahul Gandhi Can Be Disqualified As MP, Sources Say Won't Attend Parliament

The court's order puts Rahul Gandhi at risk of disqualification as a member of parliament under the law.

New Delhi: Congress's Rahul Gandhi was given a two-year jail term today by a court in Gujarat in a defamation case over his remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party said attempts to "silence" Mr Gandhi will not help, "we will fight the case".

Here's your 10-Point cheatsheet in this big story:

  1. Targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his last name – which he shares with fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi -- in 2019, Rahul Gandhi had apparently said, "How come all thieves have the common surname Modi?" A case was later filed by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi.

  2. Mr Gandhi has been granted bail and given 30 days to file an appeal. The court's order puts him at risk of disqualification as a member of parliament under the law.

  3. Top sources in the Congress have conceded the point and said Mr Gandhi will not be attending parliament till his appeal is heard.

  4. The Congress has called a meeting of opposition leaders tomorrow to discuss the situation. The meeting is expected to begin at 10 am.

  5. Mr Gandhi, who was in Surat, has returned to Delhi. In his first reaction to the verdict, he quoted Mahatma Gandhi. "My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it," he posted on Twitter. 

  6. The Congress has questioned how the court can give such harsh punishment in a defamation case. Senior party leader Jairam Ramesh said it was not just a legal issue, but a very serious political issue. "This is a great example of Modi government's politics of vengeance, politics of threats, politics of intimidation and politics of harassment," he added.

  7. After the verdict, in a rare show of support, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: "We have differences with the Congress, but it is not right to implicate Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case like this". Ally Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has spoken to Mr Gandhi. Rashtriya Janata Dal, Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and NCP have also expressed support.

  8. Mr Gandhi's lawyer has argued the court proceedings were "flawed" from the beginning. He also contended that PM Modi and not Purnesh Modi, should have been the complainant in the case.

  9. The BJP been demanding for long that Mr Gandhi be expelled from parliament. Initially it was over his comments on the Hindenburg-Adani issue. Later they demanded that he be ousted over his comments at the Cambridge University, which, the party contended was anti-national.

  10. Last week, Delhi police had questioned Mr Gandhi at his home over his remark during the Bharat Jodo Yatra that "women are still being sexually assaulted", which infuriated the Congress.

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