How Long Will This Rahul Gandhi Episode Survive?

A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court by a social activist against the law under which Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified.

2 mins read
Congress leader during Bharat Jodo Yatra [Photo: Special Arrangement]

Public statements often make history. Some are remembered. Some are forgotten.

At a time when Indian opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi says that his disqualification from Parliament is politically motivated, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has opined that Mr Gandhi has resorted to ‘gimmicks’ for ‘cheap popularity’. Union Minister Anurag Thakur said elected representatives stand disqualified the moment they are convicted by a court and sentenced to jail for two or more years. He also made it clear that the Union government has no role to play in the matter and cannot suspend or revoke the disqualification.

In this regard, a plea has been filed in the Supreme Court by a social activist against the law under which Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified.

In his first press conference after being disqualified from the Lower House of Parliament (Lok Sabha), Rahul Gandhi said that his voice cannot be silenced by this disqualification or by putting him in jail. He added that he will continue to defend what he termed as the democratic voice of the people of India.
Interestingly, as Rahul Gandhi said that he would never say sorry for his remark, let us go back to 8th May 2019, when he tendered an unconditional apology in the Supreme Court for ‘unintentionally and inadvertently’ attributing the “Chowkidar Chor Hai” (The security guard is a thief) jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier in the week, Gandhi was convicted by a court in Surat in the western state of Gujarat in a criminal defamation case.

Though Rahul Gandhi on Saturday thanked the other opposition parties for their support, the state of his Congress Party is in disarray. The Party is planning protests throughout the country against his disqualification, but will it really make a difference in the current political status of the party?

Dismal is the probable answer. It may take some space in the next few days in the newspapers but there are stories and events which are expected to overpower it soon. Though a section of the international press has reported on this issue, but it has not cut much ice among the public inside the country as government’s success stories and impending election stories are far more on the forefront. Though some political pundits argue that the disqualification may result in gains for the Congress party, others argue that it is unlikely.

The Congress had termed it as a ‘black day’ for Indian democracy saying that the battle would be fought both ‘legally and politically’.

Of late, many statements of Rahul Gandhi have caught attention becoming news items.

The ruling BJP says Rahul said that why are all people with Modi surname thieves? The BJP says Gandhi has insulted the backward society. “You have the right to criticise but don’t have the right to insult,” the party thundered.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had said in London that democracy is weakening in India and the European countries are not paying attention. This statement of his also drew flak in India.

But for now, the Wayanad constituency seat is vacant, and all eyes are on the Election Commission which will take a call on the date of a by-poll in this district of Kerela.

Ayanjit Sen

Ayanjit Sen is our Special correspondent in New Delhi. He is an International Affairs expert, international-award winning senior journalist, consultant on Media Diplomacy and author. He has worked for over 24 years as a digital and television journalist with CNN (Delhi and Hongkong), BBC News (London and Delhi), ESPN, ABP, The Statesman, India Today Group & Times Now. Nearly half of his career, he has worked with international media organizations. He is currently working as a professor of media management in Bennett University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India (part of the Times of India Group). He has worked in several parts of the globe including Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, France, Pakistan, Bangladesh, UK and Afghanistan.

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