In the wake of Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a defamation case, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole on Sunday asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not facing a similar action for constantly criticising Sonia Gandhi and late PM Rajiv Gandhi.
He said Rahul Gandhi was being punished for becoming the voice of the people, and added that his disqualification was against democratic values.
Members of the Nagpur District Congress Committee and party workers led by Patole, former Union minister Vilas Muttemwar and other leaders staged a day-long 'Sankalp Satyagraha' protest at the Sanvidhan square to show their solidarity with Rahul Gandhi.
"Democracy in the country is facing a big threat because of the Modi-led government's autocratic rule. Rahul Gandhi had been constantly raising the issue of fugitive economic offenders Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi, who ran away with the country's money. This is what the Opposition does and it is the duty of the government to reply," Patole said in a press conference during the protest.
"The country's prime minister constantly attacked the Gandhi family and their (BJP) ministers insulted former Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. They call Rahul Gandhi anti-national, forgetting that he is the grandson of a freedom fighter and son of a martyr. They are targeting members of a family who have sacrificed their lives and this fight is against this mindset of calling a nationalist an anti-national," he alleged.
Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years in jail for calling Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi thieves, he claimed.
"I want to question why there is no action against PM Modi, who constantly attacks Sonia Gandhi and called Rajiv Gandhi 'chor' (thief)? Why is he not getting this kind of punishment?" he asked.
Rahul Gandhi was becoming the voice of people, and disqualifying him from the Lok Sabha was against the values of democracy and injustice to him, Mr Patole said.
The Congress leader announced that a huge rally will be taken out on March 29 against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at various places across India.
Gandhi, representing Wayanad parliamentary constituency in Kerala, was on Friday disqualified from the Lok Sabha, a day after his conviction in a defamation case by a court in Surat in Gujarat.
The court sentenced Gandhi to two years in jail in the defamation case over his "Modi surname" remarks at a 2019 poll rally in Karnataka. However, the court also granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court.
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