On the issue of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and then loss of Lok Sabha membership, where the entire opposition in India is divided, statements from the United Nations to the American MP have now come to the fore. Influential Indian-American lawmaker Ro Khanna on Friday termed the decision to disqualify Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha as a “deep betrayal” of the Gandhian ideology.
What did the American MP say?
Ro Khanna tweeted, “The disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from the membership of Parliament is a deep betrayal of the Gandhian philosophy and India’s deepest values.” This is not what my grandfather had spent many years of his life in jail for. Ro Khanna represents Silicon Valley in the US House of Representatives. He is the co-chairman of the US Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans. He has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter.
Ro Khanna said in another tweet, “You have the power to reverse this decision in the interest of Indian democracy. At the same time, George Abraham, vice-president of the Indian Overseas Congress in the US, termed Rahul’s disqualification as a sad day for democracy in India. It is a sad day for democracy in India, he said. By disqualifying Rahul Gandhi, the Modi government is sounding the death knell for the right to freedom of expression and liberty of Indians everywhere.”
UN’s statement has come on punishment
The matter of punishment given to Rahul Gandhi by the Surat court has reached the UN. United Nations chief Antonio Guterres spokesman Farhan Haq’s statement on this issue came on Friday itself. He had said that the United Nations is aware of reports of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi being sentenced to two years in jail and his party appealing against the court’s decision.
Responding to a question asked in the press briefing, Farhan Haq said, ‘I can say that we are aware of Rahul Gandhi’s case. We understand that his party plans to appeal against the verdict. That’s all I can say at this stage.
What is the matter in which Rahul was punished?
At a rally in Kolar, Karnataka for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi had said, how come all thieves have Modi as their surname? Regarding this, BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi had filed a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi. His allegation was that Rahul had brought down the dignity of the entire Modi community with his remarks. Rahul, a Lok Sabha member from Wayanad, had made comments related to the matter at a public meeting held in Kolar, Karnataka ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Verma last Friday fixed March 23 for pronouncement of the verdict after hearing final arguments from both the sides. Rahul appeared in the court thrice during the hearing of the case. In October 2021, Rahul, who reached the court to record his statement, declared himself innocent. Now Rahul has been sentenced in this case.