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Over Rahul Gandhi’s Jail Sentence

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on March 23, 2023 with No Comments

Rahul Gandhi, 52, was found guilty of defamation for a 2019 campaign trail remark implying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a criminal.
Smarting from the Rahul Gandhi conviction in a defamation case, the Congress has called a conferral of opposition leaders tomorrow.
The meeting is expected to begin at 10 am.

Rahul Gandhi, 52, was found guilty of defamation for a 2019 campaign trail remark implying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a criminal. However, he was granted bail and his sentence was suspended for 30 days to let him appeal the decision.

“This is not just a legal issue, it is also a very serious political issue, which is related to the future of our democracy. This is a great example of Modi government’s politics of vengeance, politics of threats, politics of intimidation and politics of harassment,” senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told reporters after the party met this evening to discuss its strategy.

The Surat court’s verdict is the latest legal action against opposition party figures and institutions seen as critical of the Modi government.

Mr Ramesh said the meeting at Congress chief M Kharge’s residence lasted around two hours and it was decided that the Party chief would hold a meeting with all Pradesh Congress chiefs and Congress Legislature Party leaders in the evening and plan agitations in states.

Around 11:30 or noon tomorrow, all opposition parties will march from Parliament to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, said the Congress. The party said it has sought time from President Droupadi Murmu to present their case.

Beginning Monday, the principal opposition party will also hold protests in Delhi and in other states over the matter .

“We will fight this legally as well. We will use the rights that the law gives us, but this is also a political contest. We will fight it directly, we will not back down, we will not be afraid, we will also make it a big political issue,” Mr Ramesh added.
The defamation case verdict is “erroneous and unsustainable” and will be challenged in a higher court, the Congress has said, expressing hope that the judgment will be stayed and quashed.

The Supreme Court in a 2013 verdict had said that any MP or MLA stands disqualified from the time of his conviction if a sentence of two or more years is pronounced.

The case against Rahul Gandhi stemmed from a remark made during the 2019 election campaign in which the 52-year-old had asked why “all thieves have Modi as (their) common surname”.

In his first comment after the verdict, Mr Gandhi quoted Mahatma Gandhi, tweeting in Hindi, “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it.”

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