Action against Rahul: Undue haste lays bare agenda to pin him down - The Tribune India

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Action against Rahul

Undue haste lays bare agenda to pin him down

Action against Rahul

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Lok Sabha officials have acted with undue haste while in first disqualifying convicted Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and then serving a notice on him to vacate his government bungalow by April 22. The fast-tracking of action against Rahul reeks of a political agenda to go for the jugular. Putting on a brave face, the former Congress president has promised that he would abide by the deadline. Considering that it’s usually a long-drawn-out process to make MPs give up government premises in Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone, the Lok Sabha Secretariat needs to explain its overzealousness as well as sense of urgency.

Prioritising Rahul’s eviction is a lame ploy to divert attention from the key issue: his controversial ouster from the Lower House. The move has come under political attack and judicial scrutiny. A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the ‘automatic disqualification’ of lawmakers who are convicted and sentenced to a jail term of two years or more, according to provisions of Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act. The fact that the trial court in Surat suspended Rahul’s sentence for 30 days to allow him to approach higher courts has cast a cloud on the legality of his disqualification. After all, why was he debarred right away when the two-year sentence was supposed to have come into operation a month hence?

The twists and turns of the trial have been no less questionable. BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, the complainant in the defamation case against Rahul, approached the High Court last month seeking resumption of the trial — almost a year after he had himself sought a stay on the proceedings. His curious U-turn set into motion a frantic process that culminated in Rahul’s conviction and sentencing. With the Congress leader set to challenge the trial court’s verdict, the ruling party and the Lok Sabha top brass are well advised not to jump the gun or twist the knife. They should desist from stooping to a new low in vendetta politics. Petty attempts to humiliate a prominent Opposition leader don’t behove the rulers who proudly call India the ‘mother of democracy’.

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