“Vindictive Politics, New Low For Democracy”: Who Says What On Rahul Gandhi’s Disqualification


New Delhi: Several opposition leaders hit out at the BJP following the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as an MP on Friday, alleging that the ruling party was involved in vindictive politics, and said it was a new low for democracy.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat disqualified Gandhi as MP from Wayanad in Kerala a day after a Surat court convicted him in a 2019 criminal defamation case for his remark “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?”

Following his disqualification, he would not be able to contest elections for eight years unless a higher court stays his conviction and sentence.

The Congress has said it will fight the matter politically and legally, while the BJP has said the decision to disqualify Gandhi was a legal one and not a political call.

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson Mamata Banerjee said opposition leaders have become the “prime target of BJP”.

“In PM (Narendra) 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,” she tweeted.

“Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy,” tweeted Banerjee in support of Gandhi, even as her party has taken a step back from being part of a Congress-led opposition against the BJP.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described Gandhi’s disqualification as shocking.

“The expulsion of Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha is shocking. The country is passing through very difficult times. They have kept the whole country scared. 130 crore people will have to unite against their arrogant power,” he said in a tweet.

The Congress, hitting out at the government over Gandhi’s disqualification, also said it was “a black day for Indian democracy” and alleged that the action was driven by “political vendetta”.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said the disqualification of Gandhi is a “vendetta battle” and exposed how opposition leaders are living in a state of Emergency while BJP leaders are living in “Amrit Kaal”.

“The disqualification of Lok Sabha membership of Shri @RahulGandhi’ ji demonstrates how political differences are now vendetta battles for ruling Central Government. In today’s Amrit Kaal Opposition leaders are unilateral targets of BJP, being coerced and silenced using every tool of power,” he said in a series of tweets.

“It is clearly evident Amrit Kaal in New India applies only to leaders and members of BJP. Whereas for the entire Opposition and citizens of this country, it is Apaat Kaal,” Soren said.

NCP leader, Supriya Sule tweeted, “Totally Disappointing. First P.P Mohammed Faizal, Now @RahulGandhi.”

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Priyanka Chaturvedi questioned the state of democracy in the country. “Vindictive and shameful action against Rahul Gandhi. This disqualification yet again proves that we are living in the times of caged democracy,” she said in a tweet.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said “It’s condemnable that the BJP is now using the criminal defamation route to target opposition leaders and disqualify them as done with @RahulGandhi now.”

“This comes on top of the gross misuse of ED/CBI against the opposition. Resist and defeat such authoritarian assaults,” the veteran Left leader said in a tweet.

Alleging that Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification is the official announcement of the “death of democracy”, RJD leader Manoj Jha said there is no bigger blot on parliamentary democracy in history than this.

Citing the manner in which he was disqualified, Jha said Gandhi’s comments about democracy under threat in India have been proved right by the government. “The BJP has no respect for democracy in its heart, word and action,” he alleged and called for a unity among opposition parties to dismantle this “dictatorship”.

CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya highlighted the speed with which action was taken against Gandhi.

“The sentence against @RahulGandhi in the alleged Modi defamation case was announced yesterday and within a day he is now disqualified from the Lok Sabha! Nothing short of a surgical strike on democracy! Time for the entire opposition to rally against this unbridled emergency!” he 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.

BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali termed Gandhi’s disqualification unfortunate, and said 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, he claimed.

He alleged that many BJP leaders have linked Muslims to terrorism, while criticising the disqualification. “If such an issue becomes a yardstick to disqualify an MP, then filing defamation cases will become a means to strip lawmakers of their membership,” he said.

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