Gandhi says disqualification 'politically motivated'

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Rahul GandhiImage source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Mr Gandhi was convicted by for comments astir PM Modi's surname astatine an predetermination rally

The person of Indian's absorption Congress Party Rahul Gandhi has said his disqualification by parliament was politically motivated.

On Friday, India's parliament stripped Mr Gandhi of his MP presumption a time aft helium was sentenced to 2 years successful situation successful a defamation case.

He was convicted by the tribunal for 2019 comments astir PM Narendra Modi's surname astatine an predetermination rally.

The governing BJP says his expulsion conformed with parliamentary rules.

A 2013 Supreme Court bid says that a lawmaker convicted successful a transgression and sentenced to 2 oregon much years successful jailhouse stands disqualified from the parliament with contiguous effect.

Speaking astatine a quality briefing connected Saturday, Mr Gandhi said: "It makes maine nary quality if I'm disqualified... Disqualify maine for life.... I volition support going, I volition not stop."

Although India's absorption parties don't ever hold connected governmental issues, galore of them person supported Mr Gandhi implicit his disqualification. On Friday, 14 parties approached the Supreme Court, alleging that the national authorities was misusing investigative agencies to people BJP's opponents.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the enactment against Mr Gandhi was a effect of his request for a parliamentary probe to probe allegations against the Adani Group.

The immense conglomerate was accused of decades of "brazen" banal manipulation and accounting fraud by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research earlier this year. The Adani Group has denied allegations of fiscal fraud.

"My occupation arsenic I spot it is to support the antiauthoritarian quality of this country," Mr Gandhi said aft his disqualification.

"That means defending the institutions of this country, that means defending the dependable of the mediocre radical of this country, that means telling the radical of this state the information astir radical similar Mr Adani, who are fundamentally exploiting the narration they person with the premier minister," helium said.

"I was disqualified due to the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is frightened of my adjacent code connected Adani... I tin spot it successful his eyes."

Mr Gandhi's supporters accidental his disqualification is simply a motion that India's antiauthoritarian strategy is weakening, and much protests against the authorities are planned successful the coming days.

He volition not beryllium allowed to instrumentality portion successful nationalist elections owed adjacent year, unless his condemnation is suspended oregon helium is acquitted successful the case.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, said the determination to disqualify Mr Gandhi was successful accordance with parliamentary laws, and criticised his enactment for questioning the verdict.

Federal Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav said Mr Gandhi had insulted members of the caste grouping known arsenic Other Backward Classes (OBC) nether which the sanction "Modi" falls.

"Insulting immoderate surname is not state of speech," helium said.

But immoderate experts person questioned the severity of Mr Gandhi's sentence.

Joyojeet Pal, an subordinate prof of accusation astatine the University of Michigan, said that it was "highly unusual" for a first-time offender similar Mr Gandhi to beryllium fixed the maximum imaginable punishment of 2 years' imprisonment.

"Both low-level politicians and parliamentarians successful India are known to prosecute successful utmost code connected societal media and successful their nationalist meetings. A condemnation of this scale, with the effect of removing the superior challenger to Modi, is practically unheard of," Prof Pal added.

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