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Day after conviction in defamation case, Rahul Gandhi holds meeting with Congress leaders in Parliament

As there is speculation that Rahul Gandhi will be disqualified as Lok Sabha MP, after his conviction in the criminal defamation case by the Gujarat court, the Congress will also stage a protest march from Parliament House to Vijay Chowk after the meeting.

Arushi Jaiswal Written By: Arushi Jaiswal New Delhi Updated on: March 24, 2023 11:56 IST
Rahul Gandhi, Lok Sabha, Congress, Parliament
Image Source : INDIA TV Party chief and LoP in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were also present at the meeting.

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday visited Parliament and held a meeting with Congress MPs at the Congress Parliamentary Office in Parliament a day after the Lok Sabha MP was convicted in the defamation case by the Surat Court in the 'Modi surname' case. Rahul Gandhi attended a meeting of party MPs before the start of the House proceedings. Party chief and LoP in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were also present at the meeting. The party will also stage a protest march from Parliament House to Vijay Chowk after the meeting. There is speculation that Rahul Gandhi will be disqualified as Lok Sabha MP, after his conviction in the criminal defamation case by the Gujarat court.

As soon as the proceeding of the Parliament began, the House was adjourned amid ruckus over various issues and Rahul Gandhi left Parliament soon after that. Notably, Gandhi can escape immediate disqualification as a member of parliament if the appellate court suspends the conviction as well as the two-year jail term.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh said "We will hold protests across Delhi and in other states on Monday on this issue. The matter is just not a legal issue, but also a serious political issue linked with the future of democracy in the country." He further said that the Opposition parties have also sought time from President Droupadi Murmu on Friday afternoon to raise the matter with her. Meanwhile, the grand old party had also decided to hold protests across Delhi and other states on Monday (March 27) over the Surat court's 'erroneous' judgment against the Wayanad MP.

Also Read: Rahul Gandhi to be disqualified as MP? Congress crucial meet today to discuss strategy

Congress accuses Modi govt of doing politics of 'vendetta'

Speaking further, the AICC general Secretary also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government, accusing it of indulging in politics of vendetta. "This is another major example of the Modi government's politics of vendetta, threat and intimidation. We will fight it legally as well as politically. We will not bow down or be intimidated by such politics and will turn this into a major political issue," Ramesh added.

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal also said that the party is planning to hold a solidarity march against the Surat court's verdict. "We have analyzed the situation. The verdict was so unfortunate as far as Congress Party is concerned. We will do a solidarity march for Congress Party. We are seeking an appointment with the President," he added. 

Surat court sentences Rahul Gandhi to 2 years in jail

It should be mentioned here that a court in Gujarat's Surat sentenced Congress leader  Gandhi to two years in jail in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his "Modi surname" remarks. 

However, soon after the court granted him bail and a time period of 30 days to appeal against the quantum of punishment. 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. 

After Gujarat court's verdict, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge held a meeting of top party leaders at his residence to discuss the situation arising out of Rahul Gandhi's conviction. Sources said the party leaders discussed that immediate legal remedies be taken to challenge the Surat trial court verdict and get it stayed from a higher court.

Speaking on Rahul Gandhi's conviction in the defamation case, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, "During the course of the inquiry, Court asked him again and again if he will apologise. He refused. When the Court has pronounced the verdict, he is not apologetic. If you look at the precedent of Rahul Gandhi, he is a habitual offender."

"The reactions of leaders of Congress make it clear that they don't respect the institutions of the country. This is quite evident that they have scant respect for the institutions and they are repeatedly showing it," the minister said.

Also Read: In surprise move, Kejriwal supports Rahul Gandhi in Modi surname case; what it may mean for united Oppn call

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