After disqualification, Rahul Gandhi says he will keep asking questions about Modi-Adani links
The Congress leader claimed that he has been disqualified as an MP because the prime minister is afraid of him speaking about the businessman in Parliament.
A day after he was disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday asserted that he will continue to ask questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and industrialist Gautam Adani.
Gandhi, who was the MP from Wayanad, 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.
Under 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 until six years after serving time.
The Congress has alleged that Gandhi’s disqualification is an example of the Modi government’s “politics of vendetta, threat and intimidation”. On Friday, Opposition parties had held a march to protest against the court verdict as well as to demand a joint parliamentary committee invesitgation into the Adani Group.
Opposition leaders have accused the prime minister of favouring Gautam Adani, the founder of the Adani Group. Shares of Adani firms have plunged since January, when United States-based firm Hindenburg Research alleged that the conglomerate had used offshore tax havens improperly and manipulated stock prices.
At a press conference on Saturday, Gandhi claimed that he has been disqualified because the prime minister is afraid of him speaking about Adani in Parliament.
“I have seen it in his eyes,” the Congress leader said. “... They [the government] don’t want that speech [about Adani] in Parliament. That is why first the distraction, then disqualification.”
Gandhi said he will keep asking about the identity of the entity that invested Rs 20,000 crore in Adani shell firms.
“Nobody knows whose money that is,” he claimed. “That money cannot be Mr Adani’s money... he does not generate this type of money. So that money has come from someone.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, has denied the charge of “political vendetta”, claiming it had nothing to do with court order, reported NDTV. The BJP also reiterated its claim that Gandhi insulted Other Backward Communities with his remark on the Modi surname.
“He is not the only one, 32 leaders have been disqualified across the country, including six from the BJP,” former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. “The Congress is trying to project Rahul Gandhi as a victim for electoral gains in Karnataka.”
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Gandhi asserted that he will keep working for India even if he is disqualified permanently as a Lok Sabha MP.
Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership could be reinstated if his conviction is stayed by a higher court.
“I only speak the truth,” he said. “That is my job and I will keep doing it, even if I am disqualified or arrested. This country has given me everything, and that is why I do this.”
To a question on whether he would apologise for his remarks, the Congress leader said: “My name is Gandhi, not Savarkar. Gandhi does not apologise to anyone.”
The Congress leader was referring to mercy petitions that Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar wrote to the British colonial administration while he was in the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.