Renowned lawyer and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal has said that the conviction of a Congress MP in a criminal defamation case by a court in Gujarat’s Surat automatically disqualifies them as a Member of Parliament. Sibal stated that Rahul Gandhi, the current representative of the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, is now disqualified as per the law due to his derogatory comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“If it (the court) only suspends the sentence that’s not enough. There has to be a suspension or stay of conviction. He (Rahul Gandhi) can stay on as a member of parliament only if there is a stay on the conviction,” Sibal told a private news channel.
The Surat district court in Gujarat convicted the Congress leader for his remark “Why are all thieves named Modi?” directed towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, he was granted bail and given a 30-day window to file an appeal.
The conviction of Rahul Gandhi has generated a significant discussion on social media regarding whether or not it would prevent him from serving in the Lok Sabha.
In response to Rahul Gandhi’s conviction, the Congress party has opted to take their grievances to the streets and unite with other political parties to meet with the President of India. The primary opposition party has declared a widespread protest following Gandhi’s defamation case conviction, stating that they intend to challenge the verdict both legally and politically.
Following the ruling, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge held a meeting with senior party leaders and MPs at his residence. After an hour of discussion, they agreed to stage a demonstration at Vijay Chowk on Friday.
Jairam Ramesh, the AICC general secretary, stated that the Congress party intends to gather with other opposition leaders in the morning and lead a protest march from Parliament House to Vijay Chowk. The opposition parties have also requested a meeting with President Droupadi Murmu on Friday afternoon to address the issue.
Ramesh added that the meeting at Kharge’s residence lasted for roughly two hours, during which it was agreed that the party leader would convene a meeting with all Pradesh Congress chiefs and Congress Legislature Party leaders in the evening to coordinate demonstrations in various states.
“We will hold protests across Delhi and in other states on Monday on this issue,” Ramesh said. The matter is just not a legal issue, but also a serious political issue linked with the future of democracy in the country, he said.
“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 said.
KC Venugopal, his Congress colleague, also said that the party has analyzed the situation.
“The verdict was so unfortunate as far as Congress Party is concerned. We will do a solidarity march for Congress Party. From day 1 onwards when Rahul Gandhi raised the issue of Adani, the Government of India side has been trying to stop him. They don’t want Rahul Gandhi to speak in Parliament. They are varying all options to stop his voice,” said Venugopal.
The Congress general secretary said that Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party will continue to speak on the Adani issue. “All opposition parties are getting suppressed. I am happy that parties are showing solidarity with Rahul Gandhi,” said Venugopal.