After Rahul Gandhi's Lok Sabha disqualification, protests erupt across India
A day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Lok Sabha member following his conviction in a 2019 defamation case, party workers took to the streets in numerous states on Saturday to stage protests. A court in Gujarat's Surat convicted Gandhi on Thursday and sentenced him to a two-year jail term over his remarks on PM Narendra Modi's surname in 2019.
Why does this story matter?
- Following his conviction in the case, Gandhi's Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala fell vacant and is likely to witness a bypoll by September. Furthermore, he risks losing his ability to run for MP for eight years.
- In 2019, during an election campaign in Karnataka, Gandhi said, "Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi... How come all the thieves have Modi as a common surname?"
Congress supporters stage protest in Delhi, Bhopal
In Delhi, Indian Youth Congress members staged a protest at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters while wearing masks featuring Gandhi's face. Furthermore, they also held placards with slogans that read, "Daro mat (do not fear)" and "A true Gandhi will keep fighting for the truth." Meanwhile, in Bhopal, Congress supporters protested Gandhi's disqualification and conviction by placing locks on their mouths.
Party workers clash with police in Wayanad
On the other hand, Congress party workers observed a "Black Day" in Kerala's Wayanad on Saturday. As per the news agency ANI, a massive protest was staged by the party supporters, who also attempted to takedown police barricades that were set up on their way. As a result, the police detained several workers in the district to control the unruly crowd.
Visuals of Congress's protest in Wayanad
Congress workers burn PM Modi's effigy in Hyderabad
In Telangana's Hyderabad, Congress workers were seen burning an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while raising slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government. Furthermore, the Chandigarh Youth Congress also staged protests and stopped the Chandigarh-New Delhi Shatabdi Express at the Chandigarh Railway Station over the former Congress president's disqualification.
Video of Hyderabad Congress workers staging protest
Chandigarh-New Delhi Shatabdi Express train stopped at Chandigarh
I only speak truth: Gandhi after his Lok Sabha disqualification
In his first press conference since his disqualification, Gandhi on Saturday said that he wasn't afraid of and didn't care about being jailed or disqualified. "I am not interested in anything but the truth. I only speak the truth, it is my work and I will keep doing it even if I get disqualified or get arrested," stated Gandhi.
Will write letter to people of Wayanad: Gandhi
Speaking about his former Lok Sabha constituency, the Congress leader claimed he would write a letter to the people of Wayanad as he shared a family-like relationship with them. "I will write a letter to the people of Wayanad. Modi ji said to BJP leaders...you have to divert attention. They are scared of PM Modi," Gandhi was quoted as saying by India Today.
Watch Rahul Gandhi's press conference
'If karma struck back, what is our fault,' asks Sarma
Separately, reacting to Gandhi's disqualification, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma took a dig at him on Saturday and said, "Rahul Gandhi himself tore the ordinance against immediate disqualification (in 2013). If karma has struck him back, what is our fault?" "For five years, Rahul Gandhi did not apologize, which was due to the OBC community. Despite the...conviction, he has not yet apologized," he added.