On Friday, March 24th, 2023, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi responded to his disqualification as a member of the Lok Sabha by issuing a statement via Twitter. In his message, Gandhi stated that he is fighting to restore the voice of the country and is willing to pay any price for this cause.
Gandhi’s disqualification came after he was convicted in a 2019 defamation case by a Surat court. The conviction was for a remark he made at a campaign event for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, where he used the surname ‘Modi.’ The court sentenced him to two years in prison. However, the court later approved his bail on a surety of Rs 15,000 while suspending his sentence for a period of 30 days during which he can challenge his conviction at a higher court.
The Congress party, of which Gandhi is a member, has strongly criticized the Centre over his disqualification. The party called it a “strangulation of democracy” and alleged that it is part of a pattern to silence Gandhi’s voice and divert attention from real issues.
At a press conference at the party headquarters in the national capital, Congress national spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi and senior leader Jairam Ramesh accused the government of using new methods to silence Gandhi’s voice. Singhvi alleged that the government is rattled because Gandhi speaks fearlessly inside and outside Parliament with facts and figures on issues such as demonetization, the supposed clean chit to China, and the GST. Singhvi further stated that the government is finding new techniques of throttling his voice.
Singhvi also criticized the BJP for their severe criticism of Gandhi following his remarks on Indian democracy in the UK recently. He said that the Congress leader is not entitled to speak freely on grounds of “fake and imaginary nationalism” and that the government is using this criticism to create a fear psychosis among those who question it.
The Congress party has expressed confidence that the higher court will revoke the disqualification. Singhvi stated that they have full faith in the law and believe that they will emerge victorious in the near future.