Aditi Tandon and Shubhadeep
New Delhi, March 24
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday stood formally notified as a disqualified Member of Parliament from Kerala’s Wayanad segment with Lok Sabha secretariat issuing a notification to this effect.
By law Gandhi faced instant disqualification the moment he stood convicted by a Surat Court yesterday in a 2019 defamation case over his comments “How come all thieves have Modi surname?”
The Congress vowed to fight the battle legally and politically with party chief Mallikarjun Kharge set to meet all state presidents today to finalise an outreach campaign about “victimisation of Gandhi and vendetta politics to silence his questioning of the alleged PM Narendra Modi and industrialist Gautam Adani links.”
AICC General secretary Jairam Ramesh reacted to the disqualification notice saying “We will fight this battle both legally and politically. We will not be intimidated or silenced. Instead of a JPC into the PM-linked Adani MahaMegaScam, @RahulGandhi stands disqualified. Indian Democracy Om Shanti.”
We will fight this battle both legally and politically. We will not be intimidated or silenced. Instead of a JPC into the PM-linked Adani MahaMegaScam, @RahulGandhi stands disqualified. Indian Democracy Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/d8GmZjUqd5— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) March 24, 2023
The LS secretariat has also forwarded the notification to the Election Commission to declare the Wayanad seat vacant and issue a poll notification.
The Congress plans to move the sessions court as soon as possible (it is translating the 170 page Surat court judgment that’s in Gujarati) to get the conviction stayed.
Gandhi’s disqualification can be revoked only if a higher court stays the conviction.
Yesterday the trial court while pronouncing Gandhi guilty had suspended his sentence (two year jail) for 30 days to enable him to go in appeal.
The suspension of sentence however has no bearing on disqualification of Gandhi.
A July 2013 SC judgment clearly states that a convicted MP sentenced for not less than two years would stand immediately disqualified even if the order is by a trial court.
The Congress plans to turn the disqualification of Gandhi into a political issue alleging “death of democracy” as Gandhi had argued in London, a matter on which BJP has been seeking his apology rendering the entire post recess budget session of Parliament dysfunctional.
Gandhi now must get his convicted stayed to restore his MP ship and contest 2024 polls.
If he fails to do that, he would become eligible to contest elections until after 8 years (for six years after serving the two year sentence as the law states).
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