After the scrutiny of nomination papers filed by Rahul Gandhi at Amethi was postponed following objections raised against him, BJP raised the questions mentions in the objection and asked the Congress president to come clean on the matter.
The scrutiny of Rahul Gandhi’s nomination was to take place on 20th April, but four persons had submitted objections against the same, including independent candidate Dhruv Lal. The returning officer of Amethi had asked Rahul Gandhi to respond to the allegations, and his lawyer Rahul Kaushik had sought time for the same. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said that it is stunning that Gandhi’s lawyers needed time to reply to the objections.
He asked, “these are serious allegations. Is Rahul Gandhi an Indian citizen or not? Did he ever become a British citizen? He should come out with the real story”.
Referring to the objections, the BJP spokesperson said that there are discrepancies and attempts to suppress facts in affidavits filed by Rahul Gandhi at different elections starting from 2004. He said that the certificates show that one Raul Vinci got the degree mentioned in Rahul Gandhi’s election affidavit. “We will like to know if Rahul Gandhi goes by multiple names in different countries,” Rao added. He also wondered if Rahul Gandhi’s educational qualification is like Congress manifestos that keeps changing every five years, referring to mismatch of educational details of the Congress president in different affidavits.
The objection filed by Dhruv Lal included a certificate issued by Cambridge University, which mentions that Mr Raul Vinci read for an M.Phil in Development Studies at the university during the academic year 2004-2005. It states that Vinci had scored an average mark of 62.8%, above the pass mark of 60%. It is interesting to note that in his affidavits, Rahul Gandhi says that he did his M.Phil in the year, but the certificate mentions it as 2004-2005, and the name is also mentioned as Raul Vinci.
To confirm whether the said certificate actually belongs to Rahul Gandhi, one alert social media user who goes by the last name Chandra had written to the Cambridge University to know the authenticity of the certificate. In a reply via email, the Freedom of Information Office of the University confirms that the certificate/letter is genuine, but it contains a factual error in the academic year, which should be 1994-1995 and not 2004-2005 as mentions.
This means, the year mentioned by Rahul Gandhi in his affidavit is correct, but the fact that the M.Phil Degree was awarded in the name of Raul Vinci is also correct. This is an important fact which Rahul Gandhi has not mentioned in his nomination papers.
The university itself has confirmed that the degree is authentic but there is a discrepancy in the dates. Rahul Gandhi can not claim that the document is fake. He has to explain why the name was changed in his response to the returning officer. This coupled with allegations that he was a British citizen are grave and must be explained to the full satisfaction of poll officials.
It may be noted that many years ago it was reported that Rahul Gandhi had used the name Raul Vinci at the Trinity College under Cambridge to hide his identity following the assassination of his father Rajiv Gandhi. Later Vice Chancellor Cambridge Prof Alison Richard had also clarified that Rahul Gandhi did his MPhil in 1995 under the name Raul Vinci, and the certificate that had appeared in Indian media mentioned the year of passing wrongly. According to reports, it is a common practice to give pseudonym to VVIP students by British authorities as a security measure, as a large number of such students study in various universities in the UK.