Home Politics Opposition parties, reacted sharply to the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as a...

Opposition parties, reacted sharply to the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as a Member of the Parliament

Several Opposition parties – despite their differences with the Congress – including Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, reacted sharply to the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as a Member of the Parliament following his conviction and two-year jail sentence in a defamation case.

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Opposition leaders have become the prime target of the BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “new India”.

“In PM Modi’s New India, Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP! While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, Opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches. Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy,” said Ms Banerjee.

“In PM Modi’s New India, Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP! While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, Opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches. Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy,” said Ms Banerjee.

AAP leader and Delhi minister Saurabh Bhardwaj questioned if the Opposition’s voice is suppressed, “who will raises the people’s issues?”

“We have a lot of differences with the Congress. Whenever the Centre attacked us, Congress leaders even clapped. When the Lieutenant Governor attacked the Delhi Chief Minister, their leader Ajay Maken had clapped. If the Centre suppresses Opposition’s voice in a democracy, then who will raises the people’s issues? The Opposition had been suppressed in the Parliament many time. But now, dozens of cases are filed over petty issues. If this has to continue, then let the Prime Minister and BJP alone contest all elections with no opposition. That is dictatorship,” said AAP leader and Delhi minister Saurabh Bhardwaj.

Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Shiv Sena (UBT) party, on Friday dubbed Mr Gandhi’s disqualification as “murder” of democracy and said this is the beginning of the end of “dictatorship”.

“This is the murder of democracy. All agencies are under pressure. This is the beginning of the end of the dictatorship…the battle only needs a direction (now),” Mr Thackeray said.

Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Manoj Jha called the disqualification “shameful and unfortunate”. “Nothing can be a bigger blot in the history of parliamentary democracy,” the MP said.

CPI leader Binoy Viswam asked where India was going as a democracy. “Where is our democracy heading to? For a speech made in Kolar, case in Surat, that too after how many years? Anybody of their dislike can be booked for whatever reason they decide! Today it is Rahul Gandhi, tomorrow it can be you or me. Time to unite in defence of democracy,” he said.

Danish Ali, an MP from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, claimed, “If MPs were to lose their membership on such matters of defamation, then 70 per cent of parliamentarians will lose their membership, most of them being from the BJP.”

The Lok Sabha Secretariat disqualified Rahul Gandhi as MP from Wayanad in Kerala a day after a court in Surat convicted him in a defamation case and sentenced him to two years in jail, while also providing bail for 30 days to appeal the decision. Mr Gandhi would not be able to contest elections for eight years unless a higher court stays his conviction and sentence.

“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it,” tweeted the Wayanad MP quoting Mahatma Gandhi, in his first comment after the verdict.

The Congress party came down heavily on the ruling BJP and its president Mallikarjun Kharge said, “They don’t want to keep those who are speaking the truth but we will continue to speak the truth.”

“If needed we’ll go to jail to save democracy,” he added.

Senior leader Shashi Tharoor expressed shock over the prompt action within a day of his conviction and called it “politics with gloves off”.

“I’m stunned by this action and by its rapidity, within 24 hours of the court verdict and while an appeal was known to be in process. This is politics with the gloves off and it bodes ill for our democracy,” said the Thiruvananthapuram MP.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot targeted the BJP over its “dictatorship”.

“The suspension of Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership is another example of dictatorship. BJP should not forget that

they had adopted the same method against Mrs. Indira Gandhi also and had to face the consequences. Rahul Gandhi is the voice of the country which will be stronger now against this dictatorship,” the Congress veteran tweeted in Hindi.

Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan claimed Mr Gandhi’s disqualification shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi is afraid of him.

“Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified as an MP. We had suspected this as soon as the two years jail term was pronounced – this is essential to cancel anyone’s membership (of the House). They could have pronounced a six-month or one-year jail term but the two-year term meant that they had a further plan and they did it today. I condemn this action. This shows how scared of Rahul Gandhi is Narendra Modi,” he said.

Among other Congress leaders who targeted the BJP over Mr Gandhi’s disqualification were Jairam Ramesh and Srinivas BV.

The defamation case pertains to Mr Gandhi’s alleged “how come all thieves have Modi as the common surname” remark at a pre-election rally in Karnataka’s Kolar. A former Gujarat minister had filed a complaint alleging he had defamed the entire Modi community.

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