The Wayanad Lok Sabha seat was declared vacant on Friday shortly after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a member of Parliament.

Gandhi was disqualified a day after a Gujarat court convicted him to two years in jail in a defamation case for his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname. The court, however, granted him bail and suspended his sentence for 30 days in order to allow him to appeal against the verdict.

At a rally in Karnataka’s Kolar ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi was said to have asked:Why all the thieves, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi or Narendra Modi, have Modi in their names?”

Nirav Modi is a fugitive businessman accused in the Punjab National Bank scam while Lalit Modi is former Indian Premier League chief who has been banned for life by the cricket governing body.

On Friday evening, the Lok Sabha website listed Wayanad as a vacant constituency, along with Jalandhar in Punjab and Lakshadweep.

The Jalandhar seat became vacant after the death of Congress leader Santokh Singh Chaudhary, while the Lakshadweep constituency fell vacant after the disqualification of Nationalist Congress Party member Mohammad Faizal PP. Faizal was disqualified after he was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in an attempt to murder case in January.

Under Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, a legislator sentenced to jail for two years or more stands to be disqualified from the date of conviction till six years after serving time.

Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership will be reinstated if his conviction is stayed by a higher court.

The Congress leader won the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Wayanad, which was the second seat that he contested from. He had also contested the election from the Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, but was defeated by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smriti Irani.

The Congress leader had earlier represented Amethi from 2004 to 2019.

Bharat Jodo Yatra’s success scared BJP: Jairam Ramesh

Congress General Secretary in-charge of Communications Jairam Ramesh claimed in a press conference on Friday that Gandhi was disqualified from Parliament as he was speaking up against the Narendra Modi-led government’s policies.

“Also, the success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra had scared the Bharatiya Janata Party,” he said. “Many attempts were made to malign the march, but they failed. Further, since February 7, Gandhi had been talking about the crisis in the Adani Group in Parliament.”

The Congress leader claimed that the Bharat Jodo Yatra was aimed at countering the politics of hatred espoused by the BJP. As part of the march, Gandhi covered 12 states on foot from September 7 to January 30.

The Congress, along with other Opposition parties, has been seeking an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee into allegations of stock manipulation and improper use of offshore tax havens by the Adani Group.