Rahul Gandhi In Surat Today To Challenge His Conviction In Defamation Case
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi appeared in a Gujarat court today to appeal against his conviction and two-year sentencing in a 2019 defamation case.
Rahul Gandhi moved a plea in Surat’s sessions court to set aside the Magistrate order convicting him in the defamation case for a remark seen as an insult to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The former Congress president, sources say, requested for an interim stay on the conviction.
The court will now take up the plea on April 13.
Mr Gandhi, who was recently disqualified as a parliament MP after his sentencing in the case, arrived in Surat with his sister Priyanka Gandhi.
Chief ministers of three Congress-ruled states – Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, are also in Surat for Mr Gandhi’s “moral support”.
He met his mother Sonia Gandhi yesterday before his court appearance.
The BJP called Mr Gandhi’s visit to Surat with his sister and some party leaders as “a childish attempt” to pressurise the judiciary.
“Rahul Gandhi might be going to Surat to file an Appeal. It is not required of a convict to go personally to file an Appeal. Generally, no convict goes personally. His going personally with a motley group of leaders and aides accompanying him is only a drama,” Law Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted.
“What Rahul Gandhi is doing is also a childish attempt to bring pressure on the appellate court. All courts in the country are immune from such tactics,” he said in another tweet.
Rahul Gandhi might be going to Surat to file an Appeal. It is not required of a convict to go personally to file an Appeal. Generally, no convict goes personally. His going personally with a motley group of leaders and aides accompanying him is only a drama. (1/2)
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) April 3, 2023
The Congress said the presence of the party leaders in Surat is not a “show of strength”, but a “symbol of support” for Rahul Gandhi.
“It’s not a show of strength. He is fighting for the country. They are going with him to support him in his fight,” said Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge.
The party also alleged that “illegal arrests” were being made to prevent party leaders and workers from going to Surat.
“There are continuous reports of illegal arrests by the BJP government in Gujarat to prevent Congress leaders and workers from going to Surat,” veteran party leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted in Hindi.
The 52-year-old was convicted by a court and sentenced to prison for two years in Gujarat last month for a 2019 speech in which he linked PM Modi’s last name with two fugitive businessmen, remarking how the “thieves” shared the same last name.
The court, however, granted him bail for 30 days to appeal the verdict.
The defamation case was filed against Rahul Gandhi by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi for saying “How come all thieves have the common surname Modi?”
Mr Gandhi’s Wayanad seat in Kerala is now vacant following his removal from the office and the Election Commission may now announce a special election for the seat.
Mr Gandhi’s disqualification order prompted a fractured opposition to come together to attack the BJP over the alleged misuse of central investigative agencies against the members of rival parties.
The BJP has said the conviction has come from an independent judiciary, with party president JP Nadda accusing Mr Gandhi of insulting an Other Backward Class (OBC) community – a key vote base for the party.
The article is published through a synidicated feed and TOV attributes the same to the NDTV.