New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified as a Lok Sabha member after his defamation conviction by a Surat court Thursday for a 2019 speech.
In a notification issued Friday, the Lok Sabha secretariat said Gandhi stands disqualified in line with the provisions of Article 102 (1) (e) of the Constitution read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Both pertain to norms regarding the disqualification of legislators.
The court in Surat had sentenced Rahul to 2 years’ imprisonment in the defamation case. He was later granted bail on a surety of Rs 15,000. The court also suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in the higher courts.
The Congress has said that the Surat case was not just legal but also political.
“We will fight this battle both legally and politically. We will not be intimidated or silenced. Instead of a JPC into the PM-link Adani MahaMega Scam, Rahul Gandhi stands disqualified. Indian Democracy Om Shanti,” tweeted Congress MP and general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh, after the notification.
Also on Twitter, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor pointed out how action was taken within 24 hours of the court verdict.
“I am stunned by this action and by its rapidity, within 24 hours of the court verdict and while an appeal was known to be in process. This is politics with the gloves off and it bodes ill for our democracy,” he said.
In a video statement, Congress general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal said the “designed project of Narendra Modi-led BJP government has come into force as disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as a Parliament member”.
“The day when Rahul Gandhi raised questions against Adani and the PM, at that time they started this type of conspiracy to silence the voice of Rahul Gandhi. The ministers of Modi government have several times raised false allegations against Rahul Gandhi inside the House,” he added. “There is a custom to give the concerned member (notice) for a clarification statement. That was also not allowed.”
Following the conviction, Congress MPs — along with some leaders of opposition parties — held a protest march from Parliament to Vijay Chowk Friday.
The Congress leadership has also sought time from President Droupadi Murmu. The party is planning a ‘sadak se sansad’ agitation to protest against the issue. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge will be meeting state unit chiefs of the party and leaders of its legislative party in state assemblies Friday evening to plan the agitation. A nation-wide agitation has been planned for Monday.
In 2006, Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had quit as Lok Sabha MP after she was accused of holding an office-of-profit on account of her position as chairman of the National Advisory Council (NAC).
This is a breaking news story. It will be updated
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