Congress points to 'sudden change of tactics' on Rahul Gandhi, Kejriwal retweets

By | Edited by Kunal Gaurav
Mar 24, 2023 06:58 PM IST

The Congress party suffered a major blow when Lok Sabha disqualified its leader, Rahul Gandhi, a day after a lower court convicted him in a criminal defamation case.

The Congress party on Friday said that the conviction of Rahul Gandhi in 2019 defamation case and subsequent disqualification as member of Lok Sabha was “no coincidence”, linking it with his speech in the lower house during the Budget session where he attacked beleaguered billionaire Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary in charge of communications, said the complainant, a BJP MLA, withdrew his own petition seeking a stay on the trial court proceedings days after Rahul Gandhi's speech in Lok Sabha. (Rahul Gandhi disqualified as Lok Sabha member | Follow LIVE updates here)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi showing old photo of Gautam Adani with then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi showing old photo of Gautam Adani with then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

“9 days after Rahul Gandhi's Adani speech in [Lok Sabha] on Feb 7th, the defamation case against him gets fast tracked by the complainant withdrawing his own stay in the [High Court] on 16th Feb. On 27th Feb arguments resume after 1 year. 17th March judgement reserved,” Ramesh tweeted. “This is no coincidence.”

In March last year, the Gujarat high court granted an interim stay on the criminal defamation proceedings after BJP MLA Purnesh Modi approached it challenging the lower court order rejecting his application to make the accused (Gandhi) "personally explain the contents of the CDs and/or pen drives and/or any such other electronic records" related to his controversial speech. The high court, in an order dated February 16, vacated the stay on the proceedings against Gandhi after the BJP MLA withdrew his application demanding the the Congress leader's personal appearance in the lower court.

Also Read | ‘My guess is…’: Swara Bhasker's ‘so-called Pappu’ tweet on Rahul losing LS seat

Congress leader and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi also linked the disqualification with Gandhi's speech in Lok Sabha and listed the chronology of the case.

“Amazing alacrity & sudden change of tactics by complainant,” he said in a tweet, which was retweeted by AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, in what is seen as a sudden shift in the dynamics of Opposition ranks.

“The expulsion of Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha is shocking. The country is passing through very difficult times. They have kept the whole country scared. 130 crore people will have to unite against their arrogant power,” Kejriwal earlier said in a tweet.

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, along with several other Opposition parties, also expressed strong support for Rahul Gandhi.

“In PM Modi's New India, Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP ! While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, Opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches," Banerjee tweeted.

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