Congress Party suffered a severe setback owing to Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as Lok Sabha MP following his conviction in a criminal defamation case stemming from his 2019 remark about the “Modi surname”. In accordance with the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala was ousted from his position.
Gandhi, sentenced to two years of imprisonment was granted bail by the court and suspended the sentence permitting him to appeal in a higher court. BJP MLA Purnesh Modi filed the complaint for his alleged remark stating that “How is it possible that all thieves hold the surname Modi?”
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for an hour shortly after it began session on Friday, thus the Wayanad MP only spent a brief time there. The Congress has accused the administration and the in power Bharatiya Janata Party of orchestrating the politically influenced judgement.
Following the verdict, concurrent protests were started by Congress units in different states, accusing the Center of having a political vendetta. DK Shivakumar, the state president of the Congress, as well as other party officials and supporters were held by Karnataka police as they were protesting the Surat court’s decision to convict Mr. Gandhi.
Senior Congress Leader, Manish Tewari, in his response to the decision stated that it was erroneous and that Lok Sabha secretariat cannot disqualify an MP. This can be done only by the President after due consultation with the Election Commission.
Another senior Congressman, Shashi Tharoor, stated that it is bad news for democracy. He expressed his astonishment over this action which took place in less than 24 hours after the court’s verdict while it was known that an appeal was underway. This politics which is no holds barred is detrimental to our democracy, his tweet read.
I’m 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. pic.twitter.com/IhUVHN3b1F— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 24, 2023
Following Mr. Gandhi’s ‘thief’ remark, which was meant to be offensive to the OBC community, the BJP claimed that the conviction was the result of an independent judiciary. Mallikarjun Kharge, president of the Congress stated that his Party is digging for answers to find out who stole money from the public whereas the BJP is striving to divert attention from the real problem.