Rahul Gandhi In Surat Today To Challenge His Conviction In Defamation Case
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will appear in a Gujarat court today to appeal against his conviction and two-year sentencing in a 2019 defamation case.
Rahul Gandhi is likely to move 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, will also ask for an interim stay on the conviction which would also restore his Lok Sabha membership.
Mr Gandhi, who was recently disqualified as a parliament MP after the Gujarat’s court order, will be accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the Chief Ministers of three Congress-ruled states – Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.
He had met his mother Sonia Gandhi yesterday before his court appearance.
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.