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He’s a repeat offender

Congress has so far not appealed the order convicting Rahul Gandhi in a libel case[FILE]

New Delhi:

The BJP on Friday called Rahul Gandhi a ‘recidivist’ who believed the law did not apply to him and claimed that neither the party nor the government had played a role in his disqualification from Lok Sabha, the Supreme Court. having clearly stated that a legislator loses his membership from the moment of his conviction in a criminal case.

Addressing a press conference, Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Anurag Thakur also suggested that a conspiracy within Congress may have played a role in its leaders not approaching a higher court to seek redress from Mr Gandhi after his conviction on Thursday, as he had done in the case of Pawan Khera hours after his arrest by Assam police.

Who are the people in Congress who want to get rid of Rahul Gandhi, Mr Thakur asked, noting that the party has a battery of lawyers and wondering whether the former party chairman was deliberately put on the “wrong path”.

Congress has so far failed to appeal the Surat court’s order sentencing Mr Gandhi in a libel case in 2019 to two years in prison.

As Congress slammed the government for its disqualification, alleging it meant “the strangulation of democracy” with the ruling dispensation finding new techniques to “gag” it, BJP leaders hit back.

“The Congress party, especially the Nehru-Gandhi family, want a separate Indian penal code under which they cannot be convicted. They want a separate judicial system. They suffer from a sense of entitlement and a state of “feudal spirit. They don’t understand that in a democracy the law is the same for everyone,” Mr. Pradhan said.

“Rahul Gandhi is a repeat offender and a loose cannon. He thought he could say anything without facing any consequences,” Mr Thakur said, noting that the Congress leader was out on bail in seven different cases.

Mr Gandhi has always considered himself above Parliament, the government and the country, the BJP leader said referring to his alleged recent insulting remarks about Indian democracy in the UK.

He had to apologize to the Supreme Court for his defamatory remarks in the Rafale affair but did not make amends, said the Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

The two leaders also shed light on opposition parties siding with Mr Gandhi on the issue and criticizing the government for its “dictatorial” ways.

Mr Pradhan said a zero joining another zero did not change the result.

They can all stand together but the country stands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Thakur says, saying BJP rivals are angry with PM Modi because he came from humble background and brought glory and prestige to India in the world.

Many foreign leaders also recognized his leadership, he added.

The opposition parties’ statement is against Indian democracy and the tenure of the poor and retrograde for Prime Minister Modi, Mr Thakur said.

The Lok Sabha secretariat disqualified Mr Gandhi as MP for Wayanad in Kerala a day after he was convicted in a criminal defamation case in 2019 for his remark “How come all thieves have Modi as their name common family? Following his disqualification, he could not run for office for eight years unless a higher court suspended his conviction and sentence.

The Lok Sabha chairman only confirmed the legal position with his speaking order, Mr Thakur said.

Mr Pradhan, an OBC leader from Odisha, accused Mr Gandhi of “abusing” an entire backward community. “The law is equal for all,” he added.

BJP leaders noted that several lawmakers, in Lok Sabha and state assemblies, have been disqualified on similar grounds in the past.

Mr Thakur said Mr Gandhi embodied “unparliamentary” conduct and also pointed to his poor legislative record in Lok Sabha to say the people of Wayanad would be relieved to get rid of him.

Mr Thakur also condemned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his “most corrupt” jibe to Prime Minister Modi. The BJP does not need a certificate from someone whose entry into politics was based on “lies”, with several of its ministers indicted in corruption cases. Prime Minister Modi has dedicated every moment of his life to developing countries, he added.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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