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Congress leaders flaunt foreign media coverage of Rahul Gandhi after having denied that they were seeking foreign support in local politics

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate shared the coverage of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification by foreign media outlets and tried to insinuate that the Congress scion’s disqualification was somehow done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Thursday, March 23, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years of imprisonment by the Surat District Court in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his derogatory comments against the people with the ‘Modi’ surname. Following his conviction, the Wayanad MP has disqualified from Lok Sabha under section 8(3) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. 

Ever since his disqualification, Congress leaders have been accusing the central government of suppressing Rahul Gandhi’s voice. In this line, Congress leader Supriya Shrinate shared the coverage of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification by the foreign media outlets Guardian Australia, Spanish Telemundo, Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine, Saudi Arabia’s Ashraq News, France’s RFI, CNN Brasil and tried to insinuate that the Congress scion’s disqualification was somehow done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

“Truth has an odd quality. The more you suppress it, the even more powerfully it comes out. Well done Mr. Modi,” Shrinate tweeted in Hindi.

Shashi Tharoor commented on the way that news of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha was covered by the foreign media, saying that while the BJP tried to silence a voice, the voice of India is now heard by every corner of the world.

“They tried to silence a voice. Now every corner of the world hears the voice of India,” Tharoor tweeted.

Interestingly, it seems like a part of the Congress party’s social media activity as many congress affiliated Twitter handles have been sharing the same image compilation of the foreign media reports on Gandhi’s disqualification and hailing him as the ‘voice of India’. Here are some of the tweets posted by various Congress Sevadal Twitter handles.

It is pertinent to note that the same Congress party that was defending Rahul Gandhi’s statements during his controversial London visit wherein sought foreign intervention in India’s matters. Rahul Gandhi had urged the US and Europe to intervene to “restore” democracy in India. Rahul claimed that Europe and the US are not doing enough to restore democracy in India as they are getting trade and money from the country.

Recently, during an interview with India Today, Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda bluntly denied Gandhi sought western countries’ intervention in India’s matters. Pitroda said, “This is our challenge, and we will deal with it”, is what Gandhi had said. When Sardesai asked about his comment that countries like the US and the UK are not doing anything about the situation of democracy in India, Pitroda claimed that India’s democracy is not just a matter of India but of the whole world. “It is not about Hindustan but Manavta”, he added.

Despite denying that Rahul Gandhi was seeking foreign intervention in India’s local political affairs, the Congress is flaunting the foreign media coverage of Rahul Gandhi’s recent conviction and disqualification.

While the Congress leaders and some foreign media outlets tried to paint Rahul Gandhi as a victim of some political measure, it was an automatic outcome of the judicial process and a law that was ironically placed by their own party.

The conviction

Rahul Gandhi was handed a two-year jail term on Thursday, March 23 as in a criminal defamation case from 2019. Purnesh Modi, a former Gujarat minister and member of the BJP, brought suit against Gandhi over his comments about the “Modi surname.” The judge later granted bail to the Congress leader, and the decision was postponed for 30 days so that Gandhi could appeal to a higher court.

Addressing a Lok Sabha election rally in Karnataka’s Kolar on April 13, 2019, Rahul Gandhi had said, “Why all the thieves, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi or Narendra Modi, have Modi in their names.”

When delivering the ruling, the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Surat, Harsh Hasmukhbhai Varma, stated that Rahul Gandhi’s public conduct had not changed despite the Supreme Court’s warning to exercise caution and that he had made defamatory remarks. Since he is a member of parliament, strict punishment is required.

The disqualification

Following his conviction, Rahul Gandhi was automatically disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP under section 8(3) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. On Friday, the Lok Sabha secretariat notified the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from the lower House of parliament.

Notification issued by Lok Sabha Secretriat

It is notable that the Representation of Peoples Act earlier had a provision under section 8(4) which had said that if the convicted lawmaker appeals against the conviction, such a lawmaker will not be disqualified. But the Supreme Court of India had struck down this provision in the Lily Thomas v. Union Bank of India case in 2013.

The UPA-II government at that time had tried to overturn this judgment by bringing an amendment, and an ordinance was also issued to make it applicable immediately.

However, Rahul Gandhi himself had objected to this amendment, called it nonsense, and had on September 28, 2013, trashed it in front of the media. The amendment was withdrawn after this public humiliation of the government by its own leader.

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