New Delhi – Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Wayanad MP was disqualified from the Lok Sabha with effective from 23rd March. A Surat Court held Rahul Gandhi guilty and sentenced him to two years in jail in a 2019 defamation case for his remarks over the ‘Modi surname’.
In his address to a public rally in Kolar ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi allegedly said, “How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname ?” The defamation case was filed against him by former Chief Minister of Gujarat Purnesh Modi who said that the remarks by the Congress leader defamed the Modi community.
And it’s done. Lok Sabha secretariat notifies Rahul Gandhi disqualification from House. Note the date — disqualified from March 23, 2023 (not March 24). EC can now technically hold the bypoll to Wayanad seat pic.twitter.com/FNrtR6gC6H
— Bharti Jain (@bhartijainTOI) March 24, 2023
Indira Gandhi, Rahul’s grandmother, was briefly removed by a court decision in 1977 when she was the prime minister. Members of the High Power Committee, the President of the State Congress, the leader of the Legislature Party and heads of the leading organisations attended a meeting on 24th March. Despite just a year left for the next Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission will have to announce a fresh by-election in Wayanad in the days to come, since no seat can be left vacant for more than six months.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the action against Mr Gandhi was a consequence of his demand for investigation by a joint parliamentary committee to probe allegations against the Adani Group. “They don’t want to keep those who are speaking the truth,” Mr Kharge said. “But we will continue to speak the truth.”
Rajasthan CM Gehlot compared the recent scenario to the time Indira Gandhi was harassed and ended up becoming Prime Minister with a massive majority. “They had harassed Indira Gandhi as well and she was disqualified from the Parliament and they paid the price. The fearful atmosphere that has been created in the country shows that the Government’s mentality is not correct. This is a dictatorship”.
Which political leaders were disqualified ?
Lakshadweep MP Mohammad Faizal was saved even after his disqualification was notified by the Lok Sabha secretariat from the date of his conviction in an attempt-to-murder case in January this year and byelection announced by EC. The EC, however, set aside the bypoll notification after the Kerala High Court stayed his conviction.
In a case similar to that of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification, senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan was too disqualified from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in October 2022, after he was convicted in a 2019 hate speech case.
Former chief minister of state of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav faced disqualification as an MP after he was convicted in the fodder scam in September 2013.
Vikram Saini, BJP MLA found guilty in the case of riots in Muzaffarnagar, UP had to lose his membership in Legislative Assembly.