Wearing black, Opposition MPs protest Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification, demand probe into Adani Group
Members of 17 parties, including the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bharat Rashtra Samiti staged the protest in the Parliament complex.
Opposition parties on Monday held another protest against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP following his conviction in a defamation case.
Gandhi, who was the MP from Wayanad, was disqualified after the Gujarat court convicted him to two years in jail in a defamation case for his remarks about the prime minister’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.
Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership will be reinstated if his conviction is stayed by a higher court.
Opposition leaders have alleged that the action against Gandhi was politically motivated, while legal experts have told Scroll that the Congress leader’s comments did not defame all persons with the Modi surname.
On Monday, members of all Opposition parties – many of them dressed in black – joined the protest. In a fillip for the bid for a united Opposition, leaders of parties like the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bharat Rashtra Samithi and Aam Aadmi Party which have often refused to acknowledge Congress as the primary opponent to the Bharatiya Janata Party, were also part of the protest on Monday.
Ahead of the the protest, representatives of all parties attended a meeting in the chamber of Leader of Opposition and Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge. They also demanded a joint parliamentary committee investigation into the Adani Group, which has been accused of stock manipulation.
The protestors, including Congress MP Sonia Gandhi and party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, gathered near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament complex and raised slogans against the government, reported PTI.
“How has Adani’s wealth multiplied so much in the last few years,” Kharge told reporters. “When you are going to foreign countries how many times have you taken the industrialist [Gautam Adani] with you? The PM has not been able to give answers to questions raised against Adani.”
Kharge said that the government was not initiating a joint parliamentary committee investigation into allegations against the Adani Group as it was scared of being exposed.
On Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification, Kharge said the move was aimed at defaming the Congress leader.
“That is why you transferred the case to Gujarat even as the comments were made in Kolar in Karnataka,” he claimed. “Today is a black day for democracy.” The Congress chief added that the Opposition MPs were wearing black as a mark of protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who he said was “finishing democracy”.
In the Lok Sabha, Opposition parties stormed the Well of the House and raised slogans, leading to the adjournment of the House till 4 pm, reported PTI. Congress MPs TN Pratapan and Hibi Eden, who were held placards and threw papers towards the Chair along with their scarves.
“ED don’t be scared, raid Adani,” read one of the placards.
Protests are being held in other parts of the country too, including Bihar and Tamil Nadu.