Rahul Gandhi, who is a prominent leader of Congress Party, has been disqualified from the Lok Sabha. This disqualification is a result of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that mandates the immediate disqualification of Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Assembly who are convicted of a crime that carries a minimum sentence of two years. Prior to this ruling, such individuals were allowed to appeal their conviction and retain their positions in parliament until their appeal was resolved.
In 2013, when the Supreme Court ruling was passed, the Congress Party was in power in the center of India. However, despite the Supreme Court ruling, the Congress government attempted to push an ordinance that would have overturned the disqualification rule. This ordinance was seen as an attempt by the Congress Party to protect politicians who had been convicted of crimes from being immediately disqualified.
Rahul Gandhi, however, opposed his party’s decision to push the ordinance and called it “complete nonsense“. He publicly stated that if the Congress Party was serious about fighting corruption, they could not make such compromises. Gandhi’s opposition to the ordinance caused a stir within the Congress Party and highlighted a divide within the party. He eventually succeeded in convincing the party to scrap the ordinance.
Fast forward to today, and Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified from the Lok Sabha under the same rule that his party had tried to overturn. Gandhi was convicted in a criminal defamation case filed by a BJP leader for comments he made about individuals with the surname “Modi”. The BJP leaders claimed that Gandhi’s remarks were a smear against all those sharing the Modi surname, which is associated with Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
Several opposition leaders have criticized the BJP government for using what they consider to be a frivolous and bizarre case to target Rahul Gandhi. They claim that the BJP government is using the legal system to silence opposition leaders ahead of the national election. However, BJP leaders have stated that Rahul Gandhi’s conviction has nothing to do with them and that the case followed due process of law.