New Delhi: Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said Congress is suffering because of Rahul Gandhi's attitude. He further said that the Wayanad MP’s remarks have caused harm to the grand old party.
Rijiju's remarks came after a Gujarat court convicted Rahul Gandhi in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his "Modi surname" remarks and sentenced him to two years of imprisonment. However, soon after the court granted him bail and a time period of 30 days to appeal against the quantum of punishment.
"Whatever Rahul Gandhi says causes harm. It causes harm not only to the party but also to others. It is not good for the nation," Rijiju told reporters when asked to comment on the Congress leader's conviction. The senior BJP leader said some Congress MPs had told him that Gandhi's style of functioning was affecting the main opposition party. "Some Congress MPs and leaders have told me that because of Rahul Gandhi's attitude Congress is suffering. Their party is sinking," Rijiju added.
Also Read: Surat court sentences Rahul Gandhi for 2 years in defamation case over 'Modi surname' remarks, granted bail
Rahul Gandhi invokes Mahatma Gandhi after conviction
In his first reaction after being convicted in a defamation case, the Congress leader invoked Mahatma Gandhi in a tweet. In his tweet, the Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad quoted Mahatma Gandhi, "My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it - Mahatma Gandhi."
Congress on Rahul Gandhi’s conviction
Terming him as a 'fearless leader' Congress leader and his sister Priyanka Gandhi also reacted to the conviction. "The whole machinery of a scared power is trying to suppress the voice of Rahul Gandhiji by imposing price, punishment, discrimination. My brothers have never been afraid, nor will they ever be. Have lived speaking the truth, and will continue to speak the truth. Will continue to raise the voice of the people of the country. The power of truth and the love of crores of countrymen are with him."
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party believe in law and judiciary and they will fight against this as per law. “He has been granted bail. We knew from the beginning because they kept changing judges. We believe in law, judiciary and we will fight against this as per law,” said Kharge.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that there is an attempt to influence the judiciary and they are taking action against the people of different political parties at this level. ”There is an attempt to suppress the media, there is an attempt to influence the judiciary and they are taking action against the people of different political parties at this level,” said Baghel.
Terming Rahul Gandhi a courageous man, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that only the Lok Sabha MP can compete with NDA government. “We keep saying our democracy is in danger as there is pressure on judiciary, ECI, ED and they are all misused. All decisions are made under influence. Such comments are common... Rahul Gandhi is a courageous man and only he can compete with NDA government,” said Rajasthan CM.
Also Read: Rahul Gandhi only national leader in Oppn, Modi appears to be 'PM of a party': Sam Pitroda | EXCLUSIVE
2019 criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi
A court in Surat in Gujarat on Thursday sentenced Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his “Modi surname” remarks who had made the remarks while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
According to the information, the case was filed against Gandhi for his alleged “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” He stated this while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Notably, the complaint against his remarks was lodged by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi.
Ketan Reshamwala, Advocate for Purnesh Modi said that Rahul Gandhi has been convicted under Sections 499 and 500 of IPC. “The sentence awarded is for two years and against that sentence, he has plead that he may be released on bail till appeal period and as per law, the Court has granted him bail for 30 days and until appeal, the sentence is supended by the Court,” he added.
'Gandhi defamed the entire Modi community'
In his complaint, Purnesh Modi alleged that Gandhi defamed the entire Modi community with his remarks. Modi was a minister in the first tenure of the Bhupendra Patel government. The ruling party legislator was re-elected from the Surat West Assembly seat in the December elections.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said that the Wayanad MP will remain present in the court (on Thursday) when it pronounces its judgment in the criminal defamation case against him.
"He has made it clear that we respect the court whatever its judgment. We will welcome our leader and show him our support. The Congress cannot be browbeaten with cases like these," Doshi added.
The complainant demanded Gandhi's personal appearance in court
Last month, the final arguments had resumed in the case after the Gujarat High Court vacated its stay on proceedings imposed on a plea by the complainant demanding Gandhi's personal appearance.
The lawyer for the complainant argued that CDs and pen drive containing the materials on Gandhi's Kolar speech established that the Congress MP indeed made the Modi surname remarks, and his utterances defamed the community.
Meanwhile, Gandhi's lawyer has argued that the court proceedings were "flawed" from the beginning as the procedure laid down under section 202 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) was not followed.
(With agencies inputs)