On Friday, July 7, in a major setback for Congress leader and former Wayanad MP, Rahul Gandhi, the Gujarat High Court held the conviction of Gandhi in the Modi surname defamation case, which pertained to him stating, “How come all thieves have ‘Modi’ as the common surname?” The High Court’s decision implies that Gandhi will remain disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP. Not accepting Gandhi’s request of putting a hold on his conviction, the Gujarat High Court observed, “The conviction is just, proper, and legal”.
Gandhi will not go to jail though, as his two-year prison sentence had been put on hold by a court earlier. With the Gujarat High Court’s decision, the Congress leader will now approach the Supreme Court, and if the apex court too, rejects his plea, he will not be able to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
After this development, Rahul Gandhi’s lawyer, BM Mangukiya, said, “The verdict has been announced despite the absence of proof”, and on the other hand, the Congress leaders have said that they stand with Rahul Gandhi, and the party will now approach the Supreme Court. The AICC General Secretary (Organization), KC Venugopal, said, “There is one more option before us, the Supreme Court. Let’s see, the Congress party will seek that option too”.
“We will study the Gujarat HC verdict on Rahul Gandhi Ji’s conviction and explore all available legal options. Rahul Ji is a fierce voice that takes the Modi government head on. No force can silence him, the truth will triumph and justice will ultimately prevail. Every patriotic Indian is in support of Rahul Ji in this fight”, he further added.
Congress President, Mallikarjun Kharge, said, “Rahul Gandhi has always fought for the truth, and will continue to fight in the future. The truth is that fugitives like Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, Mehul ‘Bhai’, Vijay Mallya, Jatin Mehta, under the supervision of the Modi government fled the country and reached abroad suspiciously after taking public money”.
“The BJP freed them, but used lies as part of a political conspiracy, put Rahul Gandhi in the dock and got him suspended from Parliament. In BJP’s rule, firstly the corrupt people run away, and on the other hand Modi Ji’s party plays the game of ‘grabbing power by washing those accused of corruption in its washing machine as part of BJP’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’”, Kharge further expressed.
He also added, “The country is now well aware of Modi Ji’s double standards on corruption. None of the Congress leaders, none of our workers are afraid of this political conspiracy. We will fight both the political and the legal battle. Satyamev Jayate”.
Karnataka Deputy CM, DK Shivakumar, said, “Very unfortunate that justice has not prevailed. It is the murder of democracy. Still, the entire country & the Opposition parties stand by Rahul Gandhi. He is a great leader who is fighting across the country to unite it. BJP leaders are not able to tolerate this. They want to block him from Parliament. I feel Gandhi will grow stronger”.
On the other hand, after the verdict, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Bhupendra Baghel, and Deputy Chief Minister, TS Singh Deo, staged a sit-in protest, and Deo said, “There is no question of insult to the OBC community. Rahul Gandhi’s remarks were specifically against some people, and those remarks were made during election rally. We don’t agree with the court verdict and will appeal further”.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra expressed, “Rahul Gandhi is fighting the battle for truth and the people’s interests an ‘arrogant regime’, which is adopting all tricks in the book to suppress the questions he is raising”.
“These kinds of judgements don’t give a very positive sense of judicial architecture”, said RJD MP, Manoj Jha, while JDU President Lalan Singh expressed, “BJP is destroying the democratic structure of the country. If they continue to stay in power, they will bring dictatorship in the country”.