The Indian National Congress President, Mallikarjun Kharge, on march 24 countered the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) alleged move to disqualify Rahul Gandhi as a Member of Lok Sabha. Kharge accused the government of conspiring to eliminate the opposition by slapping cases on them.
While addressing the media in New Delhi, Kharge questioned why the BJP-led Modi government is not allowing the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the Adani row even though the BJP will have majority representation in it. He also claimed that the BJP’s perception that Rahul Gandhi was targeting the backward classes with his "Modi Surname" remark was false and that Rahul was just telling the truth.
Kharge further stated that the Congress party’s demand for a JPC is ongoing, and they will keep fighting until their demand is met. He added, “For the sake of democracy, if we will have to go to jail, we are ready for that as well.”
Meanwhile, opposition parties held a protest march at Vijay Chowk to demand a JPC probe into the Adani row on March 24. However, the Delhi police detained opposition MPs who were protesting at Vijay Chowk.
Following the protest inside the Parliament House complex, a host of opposition leaders from parties such as the CPI, CPI(M), Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray), JD(U), and Aam Aadmi Party marched to Vijay Chowk, holding placards like "We demand JPC" and "Save LIC," and a huge banner in front of them with "Democracy in Danger" written on it.
The All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) Chief, Mamata Banerjee, criticized the BJP for allegedly targeting opposition leaders for their speeches. Banerjee took to her official Twitter handle and said, "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. Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy."
Earlier on March 24, the Lok Sabha secretariat issued a notification that Rahul Gandhi stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction i.e., 23 March 2023, in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1) (e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
On March 23, a Surat court convicted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and sentenced him to two years of imprisonment in a 2019 defamation case that had been filed against him over his alleged derogatory remarks on the “Modi surname”. The court later granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court.
The move to disqualify Rahul Gandhi as a Member of Lok Sabha has sparked outrage among opposition parties, who see it as a tactic by the ruling BJP to silence dissenting voices.
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