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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi disqualified as parliamentarian

New Delhi, March 24, 2023 (PPI-OT): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha (lower house of Indian Parliament). A notice from the Indian parliament said on Friday, “Rahul Gandhi… stands disqualified from the member of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction.” He was convicted on Thursday by a court in the Surat city of the Indian state of Gujarat in a criminal defamation case for his “Modi surname” remarks and sentenced to two years of imprisonment. The court granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court.

The case was filed against the Congress leader in 2019 by a Gujarat BJP MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) over his “why all the thieves have Modi in their name” remark. In the complaint, the MLA, Purnesh Modi, said Rahul Gandhi defamed the entire Modi community with his statement. Rahul Gandhi had made the remark while campaigning in Kolar city of the Karnataka state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “I have a question. Why do all thieves have Modi in their names, whether it is Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi or Narendra Modi? We don’t know how many more such Modis will come out,” Rahul Gandhi had said.

Meanwhile, the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Friday staged a walkout to protest the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as a member of the Lok Sabha. “We condemn the decision to disqualify Rahul Gandhi as a member of the Lok Sabha. We decided to walk out in protest,” said senior Congress Leader Nana Patole.

The Opposition members, including MLAs from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena (UBT), then protested on the stairs of Vidhan Bhavan (Legislative Assembly). Following his disqualification, Rahul Gandhi would not be able to contest elections for eight years unless a higher court stays his conviction and sentence.

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